One of the wonderful things about living in California is having a Meyer Lemon tree in the backyard. It was already a mature tree when we purchased our home 25 years ago. Unfortunately the tulip magnolia it was planted next to is now huge and shades half of the lemon tree in the summer. But, this less than ideal situation doesn’t stop it from producing prolific amounts of lemons.
I use those lemons almost every day. There is not much that isn’t improved by a last minute grating of fresh lemon zest or a squeeze of lemon, or both. Meyers do well in containers if you don’t have yard space; they only need a warm spot with some sun and a deep watering once a week.
For lemon chicken you will need:
- 4 chicken leg quarters, the leg and thigh attached
- 2 large lemons
- 8 sprigs of thyme
- Olive oil
- A pinch of chili flakes
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- ¼ cup of white wine
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut one lemon into thin slices and the other in half.
- Line a baking dish with foil and place the leg quarters in the pan, skin side up. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and a pinch of chili flakes. Lay the slices of lemon on top of the chicken, then the thyme sprigs. Squeeze the halved lemon over it all and drizzle with olive oil (you don’t need much). Toss the squeezed lemon into the pan with the chicken.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the white wine in the bottom of the pan. Pour the cook a glass as well.
- Bake, uncovered, for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes depending on the size of the quarters. The juices should run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife. Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before serving. Don’t toss out those lemon slices! They are caramelized and delicious to munch on.
Your kitchen is about to smell amazing!
You’ll have some scrumptious pan drippings. Pour them into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until they begin to thicken slightly. This simple gravy can be poured over mashed potatoes, yum.
Or, simply moisten slices of some good crusty bread with the juices and bake them until crisp in the oven. I just lay them in the roasting pan until they soak up some flavorful drippings, then place them on a baking sheet back in the oven until crispy. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Yum, yum! Serve the chicken on top.
If you are counting calories, the chicken is delicious “as is”. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some chopped parsley is all that is required.