Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My New Favorite Chicken Recipe: Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken Breasts

I have a really fantastic chicken recipe to share today that will make you rethink chicken. Yes, chicken is versatile...but it can get really boring to eat it the same old ways. The recipe I'm sharing today, my friends, is anything but boring! I gently tweaked Ina Garten's AMAZING lemon chicken breast recipe for my Foodbuzz/Electrolux dinner party on Saturday. I added a bit more white wine, reduced the amount of garlic by half and upped the lemon juice slightly so the lemon flavor would really take center stage, arranged some fresh thyme sprigs around the dish, and added a bit of shallot. To me, the real test of whether a recipe is a keeper is how soon do I want to make and eat it again? Well, I'm already planning to make this chicken for dinner later this week!!

I'm not sure I can find enough adjectives to adequately describe the deliciousness of this chicken. The words juicy, lemony, and sublime all come to mind for starters. This is a very simple dish, but the ingredients combine so perfectly that you just want to keep eating it...and then hurry and make it again! This chicken is simple enough to whip up on a busy weeknight, but it's also elegant enough for entertaining. Your guests will think you spent hours cooking it, but it only takes about 15 minutes to assemble before roasting in the oven for 40 minutes.

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken Breasts
adapted from Ina Garten's How Easy It That?
Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and four cloves minced or grated garlic and 1 tbs. minced shallot to a saucepan over med-low heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, but don't let the garlic brown...you just want to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Remove from heat and add the following ingredients to the saucepan: 1/2 cup white wine, the zest of two lemons, the juice of one lemon, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. fresh thyme, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Stir to combine. 
Step 2:  Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Depending on size, top with 3-4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. You can remove the skin before eating, but it allows the chicken breast to stay moist...and it bakes up pretty and golden-brown. Brush the chicken w/olive oil and season w/salt and pepper. Cut a lemon into 8 wedges and scatter them among the chicken breasts. Arrange a few sprigs of thyme among the chicken pieces as well.
Step 3:  Bake the chicken for 30-4o minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts you're using. The skin should be a nice golden-brown. If you want to maximize browning, do what I did: turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes, keeping a careful eye out to make sure it doesn't burn! Remove from the oven and let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving. 
This dish is as pretty to look at as it is to eat! Golden skin, juicy chicken breast, and and a lemony-garlic pan sauce! I served this with The French Laundry's rich carnaroli parmesan risotto for the party, but some simple white rice would be perfect for soaking up that yummy sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. This dish was very well received at my dinner party...and I discovered that the chilled leftovers make a fantastic salad the next day for lunch. The chicken is moist infused with flavor all the way through. 

Let me put it this way: you simply MUST make this recipe, and soon...trust me on this one, ok? I also wanted to share a great blog link-up with you. My good friend Louanne at the blog Louanne's Kitchen is part of blog group called Ina's Garden. They post recipes from Ina Garten on a monthly basis. This month's theme is chicken, so I'm linking up this recipe to share this month. Be sure to check out Louanne's great version of Ina's Tequila Lime Chicken

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