Earlier this fall, when we had lemons from our Meyer lemon tree, we experimented with recipes using lemons as one of the main ingredients. We consulted one of our cooking heroes’ most recent cookbooks — the Barefoot Contessa’s “How Easy is that?” and found a recipe that was as easy as it was lemony and delicious. (Bonus — the link to the recipe includes video of the Barefoot Contessa on the Today Show.) The original recipe calls for chicken breasts, but we usually prefer chicken thighs over breasts because we like the flavor better and thighs are almost impossible to overcook. Considering how the chicken got crispy on the outside without drying out on the inside, we may try this recipe with chicken breasts next time.
Even the ingredients are easy: chicken thighs or breasts (skin on), olive oil, white wine, lemon zest and juice, garlic, fresh thyme, dried oregano and salt and pepper.
Start by mincing a lot of garlic.
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute (don’t allow the garlic to brown or it can become bitter.)
Turn off the heat and add the remaining ingredients — thyme (leaves left on the stems)…
…lemon juice…(Dan juicing directly into the pan since he believes that “measuring is for suckers” [unless he is baking, of course]. Juicing into your hand over the pan allows you to catch the seeds.)
Add the white wine (most chefs say you should only use wine in cooking that also tastes good enough to drink on its own. WC Fields said “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” We may or may not have a plaque with this quote on display in our kitchen.)
Add the dried oregano and some salt.
Pour the olive oil mixture into a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Cut a lemon into 8 wedges.
Trim any visible fat from the chicken thighs.
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and generously sprinkle them with salt and pepper on both sides.
Place the chicken thighs skin-side-up on top of the sauce in the dish. Tuck the lemon wedges in among the chicken. Bake the chicken in the oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is done and the skin is browned.
About halfway through the cooking, Dan took the pan out and used a spoon the baste the chicken thighs with the sauce.
If the chicken doesn’t get as brown as you would like in the oven, put it under the broiler for a few minutes. When the chicken is done, cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
We served our chicken with smashed potatoes and asparagus. Be sure to spoon a little of the pan juices over the finished chicken to add even more flavor!