Sunday, March 18, 2012

Braised Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

You can skip the braising step in this recipe and eliminate the last three ingredients, saving yourself some time and possibly an extra pot to clean.

I've been braising my brains out lately because I adore the color and flavor of braised meat.

But I also hide from real-life responsibilities and demands when I'm standing over my Dutch oven, watching meat turn brown.  

Therefore, when you see a string of recipes that require braising, think of it as a window into my mental health. 

All references to my emotional stability aside, this recipe is quite lovely.  And it has a light, happy flavor that reminds me of springtime (which is currently exploding with flowers and pollen right outside my kitchen window).

Here's where the printable recipe lives.

Braised Lemon-Rosemary Chicken
Serves 6

6 (about 3.75 pounds) chicken leg quarters (thighs + drumstick)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
1 lemon, cut into 10-12 chunks
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary (about 3 (5-inch) stems), plus more for garnish
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Marinate:  Combine the chicken, lemon juice, lemon chunks (reserving a few for garnish, if desired), rosemary and olive oil in a large zipper-lock bag (or in a glass bowl or dish).  Do not marinate in a metal/aluminum bowl or baking dish:  the metal will react with the lemon juice.  Refrigerate for at least one hour (or up to a day). 

Braise*:  Place the flour on a large plate.  Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve marinade), shaking to remove as much juice as possible from each piece of meat.  Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour.  In a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Brown the flour-dredged chicken over medium-high heat, beginning with the skin side down, for 5-6 minutes per side.  (Transfer the chicken to a baking dish if you didn't braise in an oven-safe pot or skillet.)

Bake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chicken should be in an oven-safe baking dish.  Pour reserved marinade over chicken (if that freaks you out, drizzle the chicken with about 1/4 cup of olive oil).  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover lid with pot or foil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until juices run clear when meat is pricked and/or the meat is 170 degrees when tested with an instant-read meat thermometer.

Garnish with reserved rosemary stems and lemon chunks.

*You may skip the braising step, if desired.  Eliminate the last three ingredients.  After marinating chicken, grease a baking dish with butter.  Transfer the chicken with the marinade to the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and/or meat is 170 degrees when tested with an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part.