Lemon and chicken truly are the ultimate flavor companions.
Chicken and lemon are wonderful companions. I always add a halved lemon when roasting a chicken, and in this dish the combination of the lemon, wine, mustard and olives just work so well together.
There are a couple of options for the cut of chicken used. I used bone in, skin on thighs, but these are not always available (at least where I shop). My next choice would be bone out, skin on chicken thighs as they are more tender and flavourful than the breast.
That said, chicken breast is an option, skin on if possible, for the fat rendering and golden skin – depending on the size you may want to cut them in half for cooking.
If you don’t have white wine, as I know we don’t always have a bottle of white wine sitting around, then use water mixed with a small splash (1 tsp) of white wine (or apple cider) vinegar. On that note, a dry apple cider would also work well here instead of the wine.
For savory dishes, sweeter meyer lemons would be my first choice – but of course use what you have one hand. The juicier, sweeter meyer lemon variety brings a balance to the savory flavours.
* Zesty lemon and coconut bliss balls recipe
* 3 ingredient lemon creme pots recipe
* Light fish soup with saffron and rice recipe
If using a tarter lemon, adding a drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar to the ingredients will help to bring some balance. Optional as always, but I do believe home cooking is a two part process of confidence and skill, plus an understanding of the play of flavours.
Learning to adjust with a little extra salt, dash of sour or sweetness to find that balance. This comes with practice, but as we need to eat regularly we have plenty of opportunity to do just that.
Pan chicken with green olives and lemon
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 tsp flour
Salt and cracked pepper
4 chicken thighs (about 750g), skin on
1 tbsp olive oil
lemon, cut into 4 thin slices, then juice the rest
Small glass (about 100ml) dry white wine
1 tsp whole grain mustard
tsp allspice or five spice (optional)
tsp honey (optional – see note about lemon varieties)
1 bay leaf
12-16 large green olives
Splash of cream, 2-3 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 200C (fan 180C).
On a plate combine the flour with a generous pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Dust the chicken pieces thoroughly in the seasoned flour.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down (if you have the option). Cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly colored then use togs to flip and cook the other side for a similar time.
Combine the lemon juice, wine, mustard, spice and honey (if using) in a jug. Pour this around the chicken (not over) and nestle the bay leaf and olives into the gaps. Place a slice of lemon onto each chicken piece.
Add a splash of cream to the pan and place into the hot oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is golden.
If making the lemon potatoes too, time the chicken going into the oven so they are ready at the same time. Or serve with a grain such as quinoa or rice and a green salad.
Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.