Monday, March 26, 2007

One-Skillet Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes

Isn’t it rewarding to execute the proverbial “one-pot meal?” Protein, starch and vegetables all nestled cozily in a single cooking vessel should make anyone sigh with relief on a busy night, yet I never make it a point to cook one-pot meals. Maybe the stigma of crock pot cooking and the idea of haphazardly tossing an "all but the kitchen sink"-style array of ingredients into a large vat deterred me (disclaimer: I do own a crock pot, and admit that it has its own unique set of benefits). I am happy to say that this succulent, moist chicken that creates its own rich, lemony sauce as it roasts, reintroduced me to the very delicious possibilities of one-pot meals.

In all honesty, I am still raving about how wonderful this lemon chicken is and fighting Mike over the leftovers. The method used to create the bright, luscious lemon sauce is ingenious. I wish I could take the credit, but I got this recipe out of one of my Cooking Light cookbooks. I slightly increased the scant amount of olive oil they called for and added extra kalamata olives and grape tomatoes (why on earth would they restrict me to 10 grape tomatoes in their original recipe?!).

To create this fantastic lemon sauce, all you do is line a large oven-proof skillet with lemon slices. Then you toss the chicken in a lemon-rosemary-garlic vinaigrette and layer it on top; toss the red potato wedges in the same vinaigrette and tuck them in around the chicken; and finally sprinkle the olives and tomatoes over all. After baking totally unattended for about 55 minutes, you have a complete meal bathed in the luscious sauce mentioned above. The use of boneless, skinless chicken thighs helps create the rich sauce and is guaranteed to be moist. On a night when I thought I would just be throwing together something simple and unchallenging, this one-pot dinner was an incredibly tasty surprise.

Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes
Adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

Serves 4

1 to 2 large lemons, sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tbs. lemon juice
¾ tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 ½ lb. small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
12-16 kalamata olives, pitted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In your largest oven-proof skillet, arrange lemon slices in a single layer along the bottom. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic and rosemary. Toss the chicken pieces in the vinaigrette and arrange in a single layer over the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss in the remaining vinaigrette. Place potatoes in the skillet over and around the chicken and pour in any excess vinaigrette. Sprinkle the tomatoes and olives over the potatoes. Transfer the skillet to the center of the oven and bake for 55 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Divide the chicken and vegetables between serving plates and spoon the lemon sauce over. The cooked lemon slices may be eaten as well.

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Kristen said...

You just solved an empty menu night for me. Thank you! This looks great!

Ivonne said...

That dish looks fantastic, Julie! It just smacks of spring!

Lis said...

Holy cow that looks fantastic! I'm so making this! And I know I say that alot (if you'd quit cooking such wonderful things, I wouldn't!) but I am soooooooo making this recipe this week.

Julie said...

Kristen & Lis: let me know if you like it!
Ivonne: yes, the lemon is so bright and fresh for the season!

Emily said...

This dish was surprisingly bland and boring. I'm not even sure that I can bear to eat the leftovers. As I was making the sauce it looked and smelled so good. However that did not translate to the chicken or the potatoes. I will definitely never make this again.