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Lemon and Garlic Chicken

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

As mentioned in Day 53 of The Challenge

This is the first recipe I learned to make myself, and I was very proud as a young teen to have been the one to introduce it to the family rotation. I originally got it from a cookbook, but it has evolved quite significantly since then, and it has truly become mine over the years. It is a very simple, very easy dish with a surprising amount of flavour for the effort that goes into it. It can be served with any number of different things, including bread, rice, polenta or pasta. This time we served it with steamed greens and polenta. There are a number or ways of making polenta. For this, as the chicken dish is rich and acidic, I went with a creamy polenta, cooking it in milk rather than broth, water or wine.


2 chickens, dismembered

2 heads of garlic

6-8 potatoes, smashed

5-6 tomatoes

2-3 lemons, sliced

the juice of 1 lemon

1 c white wine

3-4 tbsp olive oil

2-3 sprigs of thyme

salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta:

1 tbsp butter

1 1/2 c coarse corn meal

3-4 c milk

salt and pepper to taste

1) Place the dismembered chickens parts in a large oven proof dish. Scatter the garlic cloves still in their paper around the chicken. Tuck the smashed potatoes under the chicken pieces. (Smashing them allows the chicken juices to penetrate better to the centre of the potato, cooking it from the inside as well as the outside). Tuck the tomatoes in on top, and place then the lemon slices over everything.

2) Drizzle the lemon juice, olive oil and white wine evenly over the top, then salt and pepper to taste. Place the thyme sprigs on top.

3) Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes, until the skin is a crispy golden brown and the chicken juices run clear.

4) Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the corn meal and stir. Once the corn meal is all coated and the colour has deepened, add the milk. Stir (almost) constantly as the polenta thickens. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with the chicken.

Simple satisfying and balanced, this is one of my favourite meals! I hope you enjoy it too!

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