Chicken is marinated in a herb and lemon marinade to make a delicately flavoured, citrus and garlic-flavoured chicken that is tender and moist. It’s a cinch to make and the ingredients used are probably already in your fridge and pantry.
Somewhere along the way, I picked up the notion that marinades were fussy and time consuming. Like recipes in grams before, I would steer clear of any recipe as soon I saw the word marinade. Thankfully, I’ve learned (in fairly recent times) that marinating is probably one of the easiest ways to flavour meat all the way through, right down to the bone.
The only thing it does require is a little prep and planning ahead. Marinating is not something you should rush, even if you might want to if you’re working against the clock or think you’ll cut corners that way.
Using Meyer lemons imbues the meat with a delicate sweetness, although you may use regular lemons as well if you prefer or Meyer lemons are not available in your area.
The only minor tweaks I made to this recipe was using garlic butter instead of crushed garlic and using the herbs I already had on hand, which were thyme and oregano (on separate occasions, I haven’t used them together). I use my grandmother’s garlic butter, which is incredibly potent and stronger than store-bought garlic butter (simply opening the container permeates the kitchen with its pungent aroma for a substantial amount of time). I’ve shared her recipe for it before, in this recipe.
Herbed Meyer Lemon Chicken
Tweaked slightly from Simply Recipes
Skin-on, bone-in chicken parts such as thighs, legs, or drumsticks
1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh Meyer lemon zest (optional, although including it gives a more nuanced lemon flavour)
2 tsp. dried thyme or oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. garlic butter, solid or melted (if melted, make sure it is cooled first before mixing with the other marinade ingredients)
Mix the lemon juice, zest, thyme, salt and pepper, and garlic butter in a bowl until well mixed. If the butter is unmelted, it may be a bit lumpy and that’s fine.
Place the chicken in a baking dish and make two cuts on the top with a sharp knife. Doing this helps the meat soak up the marinade.
Pour the marinade over the chicken, being sure to coat all the meat entirely. Cover and place in the refrigerator, marinating for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 410ºF.
Prepare a baking dish, lining it with foil and parchment paper (the parchment should be in the foil, to prevent any aluminum leaking into the chicken). Our oven’s kind of wonky and we find meat bakes best when wrapped in foil. If you don’t have a problem with your oven baking meats, you can skip this step.
Transfer the marinated chicken into the prepared baking dish. Save the marinade. If using the foil and parchment, do not cover or the skin won’t crisp.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the skin has crisped and browned and chicken has cooked through. At the 25-minute mark, remove from the oven and baste or drizzle the marinade over the chicken, and pop it back in to finish baking.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. The juices may be saved to serve with the chicken. Serve with freshly cooked rice or freshly steamed vegetables.