Wednesday Dinner: Lemon chicken and leeks

I had intended to make chicken with roasted fennel for dinner tonight. Two problems with that:

  1. The Wife doesn’t like fennel. Now, in the hands of mere mortals that would be a problem. But, you’re talking to a guy who converted a veggie hater to the world of salads, brussels sprouts, escarole and rappi. That said, she’s just not a fan of the strong anise flavor.
  2. Weeknight dinners around here need to be filling so we have the energy to tend to The Baby. So, rather than present The Wife with a dinner she was going to pick around, I changed my plans.

The fennel will come, though. It will come. Anyhow…

So, with fennel out the door, I found myself wandering the produce aisle at Wegmans Monday night looking for an alternative hearty vegetable to go with roasted chicken pieces. And there they were…the last two bunches of leeks in the produce section, beckoning for me to take them home. Maybe they weren’t beckoning so much. It was a long day and the last thing I wanted to do was grocery shop. The perils of being me, right?I had never cooked leeks before, namely because I didn’t know how. That fact scared me off to an extent. In the past, I have purchased Wegmans’ pre-packaged leeks for soups or braising but never had they taken center stage in a meal.

I opted for a recipe I found at Healthy. Delicious. that took the author’s love of lemon chicken and married it to leeks. I changed things up in this, as I’m known to do. The lemons I purchased were terrible. Good for zesting but little to no juice to the fruit, leading me to lean on bottled juice. I also used chicken thighs with the drumsticks for some extra meat. The boneless, skinless thighs were a nice compromise to the want for flavorful meat, but disdain for the bones in a thigh. The author’s recipe calls for thyme, which I substituted for herbes de provence.

I don’t call this recipe mine by any stretch of the imagination, but I will take credit for how good it tasted.

Even The Wife approved.


Lemon Chicken and Leeks
Adapted from Healthy. Delicious.

  • Approximately one pound of chicken parts (thighs and legs)
  • Zest and juice from 2 lemons (approx. 4 tb of juice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tb olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small-medium leeks, cleaned, trimmed, cut lengthwise and then chopped into half-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, sliced substituted 1 tb of lemon juice
  • 1 tb cold butter
  • pepper to taste

Combine the zest, garlic, herbs and salt in a small dish, and rub the mixture into the chicken pieces set chicken aside to rest.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large, covered, oven proof skillet over high. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken. Cook until the skin browns and begins to crisp. Add the lemon juice and the leeks to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes

Remove the leeks and the chicken and set on a plate tented with foil to keep them warm. Return the pan to the stove at medium heat (CAUTION: Your pan will have just come out of the oven. Don’t be an idiot like me and forget to use an oven mitt when holding the extremely hot handle). Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the lemon slices and simmer, reducing the liquid by half. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over the chicken and leeks.

Note: I went with a couscous-quinoa-red lentil grain blend, which made a nice accompaniment to the chicken, leeks and sauce.


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