ψητό κοτόπουλο λεμόνι ρίγανη: Roasted Lemon-Oregano Chicken

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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.

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Ingredients
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.

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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.

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**Based on 1 out of 8 servings using a 5 lb chicken and 4 potatoes.

About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)

5 comments

  1. This sounds soo good! I’ve been to Santorini, as well as a few or the other islands, but never tried lemon chicken. Maybe its because I’ve had it so many times here, in Greektown. Now, though, thanks to you, I can make my own. I just have to find another favorite dish to order when in Greektown. That shouldn’t be too hard. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

    • Cam

      I always find it interesting how I can “find” new comfort foods while traveling. Needless to say, I was definitely happy once I was able to reverse engineer this dish. Actually, some of my favorite food in Greece was the yogurt (it would arrive in little earthenware jars with a bit of honeycomb stuck in it!) but I think that’s a bit ambitious for me. What’s your favorite dish in Greektown?

      • No matter what else I order, I always order the avgolemeno — and I don’t even like rice in soup! I really enjoy lemon flavoring in soup, however, and the Greeks do it so well. When I was in Greece, I ordered spanakopita at least once on every island I visited. Much like in Italy, there were variations in the cuisine from island to island and the “spinach pies” often reflect it. And eating all of those spanakopita was a wonderful test!
        How about you? What’s your favorite Greek dish?

      • Cam

        I must agree that a good avgolemeno is amazing, the rich creaminess from the eggs that’s balanced by the acidity of the lemon. Yum. I’m hoping to find/reverse engineer a good avgolemeno before the cold weather goes away for good. I also really like yemista, the rice-stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers cuz the rice really picks up so much flavor from the seasonings as well as from being baked inside the veggies. And, bakaliaros with skordalia Ionian style (salted cod with the garlic-potato paste made with lemon instead of vinegar). Unlike yemista or avgolemeno soup, I almost never see it on menus so I’m probably going to have to do some research/tinkering🙂

      • I hope you find it. I checked a Greek cookbook that I own and the only bakaliaros are in croquette form. I’ve a couple of our salted cod recipes coming up and would love to try something different.

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