Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

Lebanese Baked Chicken

Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

This recipe has been one of my most popular and most visited recipes to date.  Our best friends in Dallas have taken us several times to a wonderful little Lebanese restaurant over in Ft. Worth named Hedary’s.  Family-operated for many years, I can say their tabouleh  salad and kebabs are to die for!  So is their slow-roasted baked lemon chicken known as Frarej.  For those tables positioned close enough to do so, they used to serve their fresh-baked pita bread all the way from behind the counter on long, paddled poles.   Don’t know if they still do that, but is sure was fun to watch!  Next time you’re in Ft. Worth, give Hedary’s a try!  But in the meantime…………………..experience their delicious baked chicken at home!

This Induction friendly version of their ever-popular lemony chicken dish is slightly changed.  The original dish has potato wedges, so I always substitute rutabaga or turnip wedges to keep the carbs reasonably low.  I did not include the root vegetables in the nutritional info below as I don’t always include them in the pan.  I tend to vary the vegetables I use based on what I have on hand.  So be sure to calculate the veggies you add (and consume) over and above what I consider to be the base recipe of onion, garlic and tomatoes.  If you have family that are not on Atkins, I would definitely use a few wedges of potato for them, as they soak up those tasty pan juices like a sponge and are sooooooo tasty.

My rendition is very close to the inspirational dish from Hedary’s, though I must confess, not QUITE as good.  This meal is easy to prepare and the oven basically does the work for you!  Gives a whole new meaning to “Set it & forget it”. 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

4 T. olive oil

1 cut up whole chicken or 8 pieces

4 oz. onion cut into wedges (separate layers)

2 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges

6-10 cloves garlic, (leave half of them whole, mince the rest)

½ tsp. oregano

Juice of 1 lemon

Dash salt and pepper

OPTIONAL: Carrots and wedges of rutabaga or turnips (for non-low-carbers, potato wedges)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 500º.  Cut up chicken into separate pieces making 8 pieces in all.   I never use the back as I simmer that for broth to freeze for other purposes or it becomes dinner for my dogs.  :)  Drizzle 1 T. of the olive oil on the bottom of a very large baking/roasting pan (I use a 12 x 15 stainless steel metal pan).   I do not recommend glass/ceramic wre for such high temperature cooking.  If you don’t yet have a really large, good quality stainless steel roasting pan, I think it is one of the single most important investments you can make in your cooking tools.  Place chicken skin side up  in the pan.  You don’t want any overlapping or crowding.  I do not recommend using a glass or ceramic baking dish at the very high temperature called for in this recipe.  Glass can be unpredictable, can even break, above 450º.  Crowding of this chicken and the surrounding veggies will result in deeper pan juices around them and that will impede crisping of the chicken.  Place tomato wedges around and in between chicken pieces.  Do the same with the onion pieces and add the garlic.  If using the root vegetables, cut them up and place them evenly around the chicken.  Squeeze the lemon over everything in the pan.  Drizzle remaining olive oil over the pan contents as well.   Lightly sprinkle some oregano over all (about 1/4-½ tsp, I don’t measure it).   Bake 30 minutes at 500º.  Baste with pan juices, lower heat to 350º and bake another 20 minutes or to internal temperature of the chicken is 170º on a meat thermometer.   Baste with pan juices just before serving if desired.  I like to place the juices in a gravy boat and have it on the table for basting the drier breast meat.  If there are any juices leftover, I freeze them and add them to the bottom of the pan next time I make this recipe (which is often!).  I like to serve this with a Tabouleh parsley salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: (does NOT include the optional potato, turnips or carrots).
Please note, these numbers are only approximate, because the actual counts will vary depending on which pieces of chicken and which roasted veggies you eat.

Serves 4, each 2-piece serving contains:

447 calories

30.4 g  fat

7.98 g  carbs, 1.1 g fiber, 6.88 g  NET CARBS

34.8 g  protein

approx. 39 mg. sodium

269 comments on “Lebanese Baked Chicken (Frarej)

  1. I live in Fort Worth and one of my employees used to run the kitchen at Hedary’s after he worked his way up from dish washer – he was there 6 years. Yes, the Frarej is amazing. The Hedary family is really nice. Anyway, I got the recipe straight from the source. Here’s how it goes: pre-heat oven to 500º+, cut potatoes and put on bottom of baking dish, put WHOLE chicken on TOP of cut potatoes, bake for 25 – 30 minutes (depending on size of chicken), Turn chicken over and back for another 25 – 30 mins on other side. Add tomatoes to the pan at this point if you want them. While chicken is cooking prepare sauce (I’ll cover that later), after the second side time is up, take out chicken and baste with Sauce. Put back in 500º oven for another 10 minutes or until desired crispiness is achieved. Its this last portion when you get that crazy good crispy skin.

    Sauce recipe (this is not exact so I’ll only give the basics): Fresh Lemon Juice whisked with Olive Oil (about 1 tbsp per lemon), salt to taste (and its gonna taste pretty salty), minced garlic (about 1 clove per lemon), dry WHITE WINE about the same qty as lemon juice. Yeah, its this part you didn’t expect that makes the whole thing zing just right. Make sure and reserve a bit of sauce to mix with pan juices. That’s it.

    One option: After the 2nd side is done, take out chicken and allow to cool a bit so you can handle. Cut the chicken entirely in half through the center of the breast so each side has a full breast half. Put that back in for the final 10 mins. Hope this sheds some light on how the Hedary Family made a legacy out of just chicken… and the occasional belly dancer.

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    • Oh, Ralph, I’m so excited you saw my recipe and took the time to share your connection and original recipe not only with me, but my subscribers as well! I have always thought the humble chicken to be THE most versatile protein source out there for creative chefs. The Hedary family sure took that deep-seeded belief “up a notch” for me and my family. I look forward to trying the family’s precise recipe and method. I heard that Hedary’s original place closed but that they are running another restaurant on the north side of town now (but our best friends up th3ere haven’t been to the newer one yet). Will have to check it out next time we get up that way again. Thank you so much for your much-appreciated post.🙂

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  2. Sorry to say Hedary’s is no longer in business, I used to go there for their Kibbi Nayee and like all their food it was fantastic.

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    • I JUST heard about that this week!! I understand from a friend some of the family are operating a place called “Byblos” somewhere on the west side of Ft. Worth. We haven’t tried it yet, as we’re in Central TX. But there might be some menu similarities, so I’m sure we probably will check it out on one of our trips up there some time.

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  3. I’ve made this dish a few times in the past couple of years and absolutely love how all the flavors blend together. I add some additional spices which include Smoked Paprika, Herbs de Provence, Black Pepper and Pink Himalayan Salt. I can honestly say this is one of my favorite dishes. Next time I’m in the Dallas area, I will have to check out Hedary’s. Thank you for sharing ☺️

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  4. Ooooh my goodness this was Sooo amazing to see. I took a volunteer to Hedary’s for her birthday. She picked the place and it was amazing in fact so much so that I was motivated to look for this recipe and you end. Mention Hedary’s on here. They still do the pita’s the same way.

    Talk about an awesome coincidence!!!
    I made your recipe for a late lunch/supper and it was faaaaabulous! Thank you for the share!

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