Friday, July 4, 2008
Lemon Chicken - Greek style
After a fruitful visit to the Queen Vic market, one of the goodies that I brought back was a lovely free range chicken. I had no idea how I going to cook this chicken - I just decided that it would be a good buy.
I am a veteran of roasting chickens in the oven with lemon and thyme, so I wanted to do something different with this bird. Accordingly, I turned to Sunday Roast by Clarissa Dickson Wright (one half of the Two Fat Ladies) and Johnny Scott. This book had been living unused on my shelf for quite some time. Inside, I found a recipe for lemon chicken - not that battered and fried stuff in luminous yellow sauce that you find at your local Chinese shop, but a lovely stove-top version cooked for an hour with lemon, veges and juices, which the authors claim is Greek style.
This chicken dish is really tasty - don't throw out the veges on which you cook the chicken, as these absorb lots of wonderful flavours from the pan juices which the chicken, perched atop them, doesn't benefit from as much. The whole lot is lemony and spicy and just perfect for a cold winter's day. I recommend serving it with some starch (eg potatoes or, as the authors suggest, hylopittes) and some nice green beans to balance it out.
To make this version of lemon chicken, you will need:
1.3kg whole chicken
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 diced onion
3 sliced carrots
1 sliced celery stick
6 sprigs basil
300ml hot water
salt and pepper to season
Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in a large flameproof dish or casserole on the stove top, then brown the chicken in the hot oil on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan, and brown the onion in the pan juices. Add the rest of the vegetables and the basil and cook the vegetables until soft.
Zest and juice the lemons. Put the chicken back in the pan on top of the vegetables and pour over the juice of the 2 lemons. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the chicken and vegetables, pour the hot water into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring the water to the boil, then cover the dish, turn down the heat and cook the chicken for an hour, and serve.
This was really a delicious chicken dish - it's posh enough to serve to guests, yet homely enough that you can make it for any occasion.