Lemon Chicken

March isn’t exactly going out like a lamb in these parts but nonetheless Mark & I have been firing up the grill, all bundled up, hoping to conjure the warm breeze of spring and the promise of summer behind it. What’s a few more nights below freezing?

This is one of my favorite recipes. It can be traced far back in my family to relatives only by marriage who live somewhere in Connecticut. Cuts of chicken grilled on high heat, then braised in white wine, butter and lemon juice – yum!

Whatever the recipe’s provenance, it really can only be successful on an outdoor grill. The oregano coating smokes a lot as it sears, and if you make it indoors, you’ll fill your house with the aroma of lemon chicken for weeks. Maybe that’s your thing. For me, its one of the million reasons I am thankful to finally have a backyard and a bbq. The recipe is inexpensive, super simple and absolutely delicious as leftovers the next day straight out of the fridge.

Lemon Chicken
1 stick unsalted butter
1 lemon
1/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup dried oregano
1 chicken, cut up into 8 or 10 bone-in serving pieces (generally 2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 or 4 breast pieces, depending on the size you may want to cut each breast half in half again)
1 cup dry white wine

Lemon Chicken

1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the juice of the lemon and turn off the heat.

2. In a large bowl, or gallon-sized zip top bag, combine the salt and oregano. Completely coat each piece of chicken in the mixture so that you barely see any chicken through the coating.

3. Grill chicken over medium-high heat. As you turn it, baste with the butter-lemon mixture. Cook until you have good color all the way around. This takes about 15 minutes. It smells amazing and you’ll understand why you’re outside when you see the herb-scented smoke plumes floating over to your neighbor’s place.

4. Transfer the chicken to a pot large enough to comfortably hold it all, add the cup of white wine and any remaining butter-lemon mix and tightly cover.

You can proceed from here either on a gas grill or inside on the stove top.

5. Cook the chicken over medium-low for about 90 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bones.

We served ours with Macaroni & Cheese and grilled asparagus spears.

  • Ginny

    I made this last night and it was delish! Everyone raved about how much flavor there was. I was cooking for someone who has high bloodpressure, so I reduced the salt and oregano by half (didn’t miss it a bit). Also added lemon zest to the lemon butter baste. Thanks for sharing this family treasure. I’m looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.