Though we had a long fall hiatus, Neni and I are going strong now. She showed me this lovely technique for braising chicken the other day and I have to say, this may be the most delectable braised chicken ever. I sent the recipe to my friend Britt Bunyard, editor of Fungi magazine, and he promptly made it for his family. Here’s the email I got the next day. Gena, the family really loved the chicken last night! Marty said it was his favorite ever and wants me to make it “every night!”
Browning, then braising in water and lemon juice creates a rich tangy sauce that keeps the chicken moist. The potatoes taste like chicken fat and the garlic just melts into the sauce. During the summer Neni adds chopped green pepper when she adds the water. This dish couldn’t be simpler, or more delightful. Indeed, I am making it tonight (again).
Braised Chicken With Lemon
½ cup olive oil
3 lb chicken, cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise
1 small head garlic, peeled
1 big pinch dried oregano
1 ½ cups water
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the oil in a large braising pan over a medium high heat. Generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces and the potato pieces. When the oil is just smoking, add the chicken. Brown the chicken all over, about 20 minutes. There will be a lot of spattering oil. Add the potatoes and garlic and continue cooking until the potatoes are browned, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the oregano over the chicken and ad the water. Cover and place the pan in the oven. Cook 30 minutes, and then check the chicken. If the sauce is thickened, add the lemon juice and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. If it has not thickened, cook another 10 minutes or so until it is. Then add the lemon juice.
Serve the chicken garnished with chopped parsley.