My buddy is always teasing me because I never roast a whole chicken. She makes a beautiful roasted “lemon chicken” weekly for her family. Well, I don’t need to roast an entire chicken when there are dishes like this! Besides, we only want the thigh meat in my house. 🙂
This recipe was described as an “easy, super fragrant weeknight version of classic chicken under a brick,” using chicken thighs instead of a butterflied whole bird. I took it a step further by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my favorite), reducing the cooking time even further. (and reducing the fat!)
This dish was truly flavor-packed from the loaded garlic-herb-lemon marinade. I marinated the chicken overnight. After pan-searing under a weight, the chicken is finished by oven roasting it over lemon slices- my kind of “lemon chicken!” 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton via The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. We ate it with roasted potatoes, broccoli and acorn squash. Absolutely delicious.
Yield: 6 to 10 servings
For the Marinade:
- 2 lemons, rinsed
- ¼ cup fresh thyme or oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 10 to 12 medium or large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the Chicken:
- 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1-2 tablespoons canola oil, enough to coat the bottom of the skillet
- 2 lemons, rinsed (I used the lemons from the marinade)
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- fresh thyme or oregano sprigs and sage leaves, for garnish
- Make the marinade: Use a vegetable peeler to shave 9 large strips of peel from the lemons, taking care to cut into only the brightest yellow outer layer. Put strips in a large bowl or ziplock bag and add thyme or oregano, sage, parsley, garlic, red chile flakes and olive oil.
- Prepare the chicken: Put the thighs in the bag or bowl with the marinade. Turn the thighs gently to coat with the marinade. Seal the bag or cover bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. (I place the ziplock bag in a glass baking dish in case it leaks.)
- When ready to cook, remove thighs from marinade and place them on a baking sheet. (Reserve garlic cloves and lemon peel from the marinade; discard the liquid.)
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the chicken, then turn over and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
- Transfer the chicken thighs, “skin side” down, to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Put it over medium-high heat, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down the chicken with the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. (Or, use a lighter skillet weighed down with a large full can, a brick or another heavy object.)
- Once chicken is sizzling loudly, reduce heat to medium and cook without moving for about 5 minutes, until brown and crisp. To check for doneness, gently lift the corner of a chicken thigh with a metal spatula. The meat will come away cleanly from the bottom of the pan when it is done. If it is still stuck, do not pull but let it cook a little longer.
- When thighs are done, remove the weight and lift the chicken out of the pan. Transfer the thighs, browned side up, to a plate. Pour off most of the fat from the skillet, if necessary.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Cut lemons in half and squeeze gently to remove some of the juice. Cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices and lay on paper towels to absorb more juice.
- Place a layer of lemon slices in the skillet. Return all the browned chicken to the skillet on top of the lemons, browned side up. Tuck reserved lemon peel and garlic cloves down between the pieces. Tuck the remaining fresh sage leaves between the pieces as well.
- Transfer skillet to oven for 7 to 10 minutes. To test, remove a thigh, pierce it on the flesh side with a knife, and check that the juices are clear, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Remove pan from oven and let thighs rest in the pan 5 to 10 minutes.
- Garnish with thyme or oregano sprigs and fresh sage around the thighs and serve from the pan at the table, with roasted lemon slices and garlic cloves.
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