Lemon and chicken go together like peanut butter and jelly. These lemon chicken thighs are so tasty & easy to make-they’re a great quick weeknight dinner!
Is it just me, or does lemon chicken feel like a very nineties food? Or maybe it’s a very eighties food. It smacks of nostalgia to me, maybe because one of the first things that I learned how to cook (if you can really call it “learning to cook”) was frozen chicken breasts, thawed, sprinkled liberally with lemon pepper or Tony Cachere’s Cajun seasoning, and sautéed (probably in a dry skillet-the horror!) until it was cooked all the way through, which basically meant it was shoe leather. No wonder I ate so much honey mustard in my teen years.
But not all things that are “old” are bad, and lemon chicken is a prime example of that. I mean, I don’t really think that lemon chicken went out of style, though I can’t really think of many restaurants that are serving it these days. I mean, lemon just pairs beautifully with the mild flavor of chicken…but these days I make my lemon chicken with real lemon, not lemon pepper (I save my lemon pepper for my Ranch Goldfish).
We don’t have cable television anymore…haven’t for the last four years or so. Most days I’m okay with it, but other days I sorely miss Food Network. I have to take it where I can get it, so when a meager few episodes of Good Eats and Barefoot Contessa showed up on Netflix it was kind of exciting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Ina Garten make lemon chicken breasts in the last few months (I’ve watched every episode at least ten times). Every time, that chicken looked better and better. Then I noticed that the recipe was in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, How Easy is That? (<—affiliate link).
One thing, though…I don’t usually cook chicken breasts. The extra fat in the thighs lends them a better flavor and makes them less likely to dry out, so I’m all about the thighs. A friend posted this cracklin’ chicken thighs recipe from Nom Nom Paleo and I knew exactly how I was going to cook these chicken thighs…cut out the bone, crisp the skin, then follow Ina’s lead for lemon-izing the chicken. Slightly crispy skin (I didn’t crisp mine quite as long because I knew I’d be roasting them and didn’t want them to overcook) and lemony, buttery sauce…these lemon chicken thighs are easy and so delicious. And not nineties at all.
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Yield: 4 servings
This recipe is adapted from The Barefoot Contessa and NomNom Paleo.
10 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (you could buy boneless, but just make sure they have the skin on!)
- salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup vermouth or dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- Juice of one lemon (cut the other lemon that you zested into 8 wedges)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon minced dried thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the bones out of the chicken thighs. This is very easy to do-there is only one bone. Just cut around it. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the chicken, skin side down, for 4 minutes, then flip and brown the other side for one minute. Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the garlic then the vermouth or wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and a teaspoon of salt and stir until combined.
- Place the chicken thighs on top of the lemon sauce. Nestle the lemon wedges among the chicken thighs.
- Place the chicken in the oven and roast until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with the pan juices.