Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lemon Chicken

I'm sure you have been on the edge of your seat wondering how my first big meal for the in-laws went.  I shared in my last post that I had, after much stress and frantic texting with my sister-in-law, decided to make a salad and roasted fall vegetables, along with chicken.  I was trying to avoid chicken at all costs.  There is just something about raw chicken that, as a vegetarian, I just cannot handle.  You may have noticed that I have posted numerous meat recipes since Mark and I got married, but I very rarely attempt to do anything with chicken.  However, I realized that for this night, I wasn't going to be able to avoid it.  With all the dietary restrictions my in-laws were bringing to the table, lemon chicken was added to the menu.

Let me explain the choice.  First of all, it came from Annie's Eats, who I can always trust.  Second, it called for chicken thighs or drumsticks.  I liked that, because it meant no cutting - that's the worst part.  Third, I liked the idea of cooking chicken with the flavors of lemon and fresh herbs, so I braced myself and drove to the grocery store and bought a package of drumsticks and thighs and tried not to notice that it said "fresh young chicken."  TMI - I don't want to know their ages.

Okay let's talk chicken.  I decided - after conferring with meat-eating friends - to marinate the chicken the night before to make the next day easier.  It sits in a marinade of lemon zest and juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper - even a vegetarian can appreciate that mix of flavors.  Then on roasting day, I brushed the chicken with melted butter and roasted it in the oven, adding the marinade halfway through baking.  As far as a meat dish goes, this was pretty easy, so my fingers were crossed!

The final result?  My whole meal was a hit!  I was so happy to see my newest family at my dining room table, happily eating my salad, roasted veggies, lemon chicken, and bread that Andrea brought from Rose32.  It was a great dinner.  Mark's dad, who is a great cook, even asked for the recipe, which I knew was a big deal.  I will definitely be making this again for the carnivores I know and love.

I am very happy that I sucked it up and made chicken for a chicken-loving group of people.  I happily ate side dishes and lots of bread.  After all, what is more important these days than making the ones you love happy?  Merry Christmas, everyone.  This has been both the best and hardest year in many different ways, but I am glad you were a part of it.


lemon chicken
from Annie's Eats
serves 6 - 8

2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons melted butter
2 - 4 pound of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
thinly sliced lemons for garnish


1) Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large zipper-lock plastic bag.  Seal the bag and shake well to blend.  Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, pressing out excess air and sealing once more.  Refrigerate and let marinate for 2 hours.

2) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinate and transfer to a baking dish, skin-up, reserving the leftover marinade.  Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

3) Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, until the skins are crispy and well-browned.  Halfway through baking, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces in the baking dish.  Once fully cooked, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices, and serve.

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