The first time I had lemon-oregano chicken was in a dark, tiny cafe in Santorini that had maybe 5 tables and served amazing home-style Greek food. While I enjoy restaurant food, I find that the over-the-top richness can lose its appeal fairly quickly compared to simple fresh flavors that keep you coming back for more. Between this chicken and some amazing γεμιστά (yemista), literally “stuffed vegetables,” they served which usually involved tomatoes or bell peppers stuffed with seasoned rice, we spent a lot of time at that cafe. Actually, I’m fairly certain the owners thought we spent too many meals there instead of exploring the other cafes but it was just that good and after a day of trekking about in the intense sun, tangy lemon-y roasted chicken and potatoes is comfort food of the
Greek gods 😉 And since most of the work is done by the oven while you’re sipping your favorite cocktail, this dish is great for weeknights or when you’re having guests over which is always good in my book.
Did you hear the one about…
1) Won’t roasting with the lemon rind on make everything bitter? Surprisingly, nope. Actually, since you’re roasting at a high temperature with the chicken and potatoes sitting in a shallow seasoned broth, this allows all that zesty lemon flavor to infuse everything. It’s the best of both worlds, the tops get crispety while the parts sitting in liquid soak up all that flavor and stay moist. Yum.
2) While I openly admit to being lazy, I like to leave the potato skin on cuz not only does it get nice and crispy with baking but it also contains more nutrients than the rest of the potato combined (whereas most of the starch resides in the flesh). 1 medium-sized potato contains 4g of fiber, 2 mg iron, 45% of the RDA for vitamin C, 10% B6, 6% magnesium, 6% folate, 2% zinc, and 926 mg potassium, just in case you’re interested.
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp (4 cloves) crushed garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
4-5 lb fryer chicken, sectioned into breasts, wings, thighs, and drumsticks with giblets and fat pockets removed
1 large lemon, in 1/2-inch slices
3-4 large baking potatoes, skin on and in 1-inch wedges (I used russet)
1/2 c low-salt chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a gallon zip bag combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and oregano. Seal and squeeze till well combined. Add chicken, seal, and thoroughly coat in seasonings.
Lay lemon slices in single layer in the center of a rimmed baking sheet then cover with chicken pieces. Place potato wedges around chicken then pour out remaining lemon seasoning liquid from zip bag over chicken and potatoes. Pour 1/2 c broth over chicken and potatoes then bake till chicken is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 165F ~45-60 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but you still haven’t reached 165F, add another 1/4-1/2 c broth and continue roasting. With a 5 1/2 lb chicken and 3 potatoes on a half sheet pan with convection it takes me 45 minutes. Makes 7-8 servings.