Wednesday Dinner: Not-So-Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

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Don’t tell The Wife, but I am in love with Nigella Lawson. She’s beautiful, mouthy, and a seemingly marvelous cook. We share a pedigree: trained as writers but our best work is done in the kitchen. She, of course, is a stunning, wealthy international brand name. I am a middle class slob trying to get by here in Syracuse. The comparisons are few, but dammit, they are mine.

I liked her recipe for slow-roasted garlic and lemon chicken because it was easy and bordered on comfort food without all the extra saturated fat that accompanies that term. My biggest problem was time. I want to make this for a weeknight dinner, but I have a problem with her nearly 3-hour cooking time. One would like to make this for dinner and eat before, say, 8 p.m.

So, slow roasting is out. But, what’s to say that a little high temperature roasting couldn’t have the same effect?

It did and it didn’t.

WHAT WORKED: The chicken was cooked through, had distinct lemon and garlic flavors and, for thighs, pretty tender.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK: By her explanation, Nigella’s recipe results in a more harmonious flavor. This resulted in more independent garlic and lemon flavors.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This looks good.” To The Kid: “That’s hot. Don’t touch that.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. I’d like to try this for the full cooking time and see what results.

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Not-So-Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken
Adapted from

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 2 unwaxed lemons, halved then quartered
  • 1 handful fresh thyme (or a generous sprinkling of herbes de provence)
  • 1 small onion, halved then quartered
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

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In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken pieces, garlic cloves, lemon chunks, herbs, (just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks), and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with a large wooden spoon. Transfer to a medium baking dish.

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Pour white wine over the top and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes. Increase heat to 450 degrees and roast 20 to 30 minutes to brown meat and scorch lemons. Serve directly from the baking dish.


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