Crispy Skin Lemon Chicken with Rich Pan Sauce

Crispy Skin Lemon Chicken with Rich Pan Sauce

So… This recipe has two extra step compared to basically every other Lemon Chicken Recipe out there. Is it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely!

We are searing the chicken first, making the skin extra crispy and rendering out the fat (besides being crispy, all that fat doesn’t make it into the sauce making it greasy.) That’s the extra step number 1.

That extra step to brown the skin is so worth it!

Then we bake the chicken in the oven, which is what usually happens with lemon chicken recipes.

But then, we finish the sauce on the stove top to get the right consistency. We add some butter and stir it vigorously to emulsify the sauce in thick, rich, luxurious pan sauce.

Just in case, I am providing the instruction on how to make this chicken a one pan affair without the extra two steps, I understand, life gets busy… However, if you do have those extra minutes, I highly recommend trying the recipe as is… What can beat crispy skin, rich sauce and juicy tender meat!

Let’s get cooking!

See NOTE for instructions on how to make this chicken an easy one pan affair without the extra two steps, if you are short on time…
However, I highly recommend trying the recipe as is and taking the time to sear the chicken and emulsify the sauce. What can beat crispy skin, rich sauce and juicy tender meat!

Yields6 Servings

 3 to 4 lbs of chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
 zest of 1 lemon
 3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
 1 tbsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried basil
  cup lemon juice
 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying
 kosher salt
 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 ½ cup chicken stock, plus more if needed, see Step 2
 2 tbsp butter
 lemon wedges and parsley for serving, optional

1

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat, ideally cast iron, for a few minutes until very hot and shimmering.

Meanwhile, dry the skin of the chicken with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper (at least 1 tsp coarse kosher salt, half as much if using fine table salt.)

Combine garlic, oregano, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt) and 1/2 tsp black pepper in 9x13 baking dish.

2

Place chicken, skin side down, onto preheated pan. Do not overcrowd the pan or the chicken will never brown, you will likely need to cook in batches. Cook undisturbed for about 6-9 minutes, until the skin is golden and crisp. Monitor carefully to prevent burning and adjust the heat as needed.

Transfer the chicken pieces onto baking sheet, skin side up. Repeat browning the chicken with remaining pieces.

Pour chicken stock into the pan, so that it comes to about 1/4" up the sides of the pan; do not pour over the crispy chicken skin, as you don't want to ruin all your hard work of crisping up that skin.

Brush the chicken skin with a bit more oil.

3

Bake in preheated oven. The time will vary depending on the size of your thighs. Start checking after about 15 minutes. You are looking ot get the internal temperature of 170° (although it's safe to eat at 165°, the connective tissue of thigh meat breaks down and becomes less chewy at about 170°.)

If for any reason, the chicken skin is not as crispy, quickly broil the chicken under the broiler.

4

When the chicken is ready, transfer it to a plate and allow to rest.

Pour the juices into a skillet and allow to simmer until it's reduced to your desired consistency, just a couple of minutes. Add cold butter and stir vigorously to emulsify into luxurious sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the chicken with the lemony pan sauce, lemon wedges and parsley.

NOTE:
5

To make this a one-dish recipe, simply:

- Combine garlic, oregano, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt) and 1/2 tsp black pepper in 9x13 baking dish.
- Place fresh chicken thighs seasoned generously with salt and pepper on top of the lemon sauce, skin side up, and brush with olive oil.
- Pour chicken stock into the pan, so that it comes to about 1/4" up the sides of the pan; do not pour over the crispy chicken skin.
- Bake in preheated oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 170°. Won't take long, start checking after 15 minutes.
- Broil the chicken towards the end of cooking to crisp up the skin.

Serve!

Ingredients

 3 to 4 lbs of chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
 zest of 1 lemon
 3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
 1 tbsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried basil
  cup lemon juice
 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying
 kosher salt
 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 ½ cup chicken stock, plus more if needed, see Step 2
 2 tbsp butter
 lemon wedges and parsley for serving, optional

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat, ideally cast iron, for a few minutes until very hot and shimmering.

Meanwhile, dry the skin of the chicken with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper (at least 1 tsp coarse kosher salt, half as much if using fine table salt.)

Combine garlic, oregano, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt) and 1/2 tsp black pepper in 9x13 baking dish.

2

Place chicken, skin side down, onto preheated pan. Do not overcrowd the pan or the chicken will never brown, you will likely need to cook in batches. Cook undisturbed for about 6-9 minutes, until the skin is golden and crisp. Monitor carefully to prevent burning and adjust the heat as needed.

Transfer the chicken pieces onto baking sheet, skin side up. Repeat browning the chicken with remaining pieces.

Pour chicken stock into the pan, so that it comes to about 1/4" up the sides of the pan; do not pour over the crispy chicken skin, as you don't want to ruin all your hard work of crisping up that skin.

Brush the chicken skin with a bit more oil.

3

Bake in preheated oven. The time will vary depending on the size of your thighs. Start checking after about 15 minutes. You are looking ot get the internal temperature of 170° (although it's safe to eat at 165°, the connective tissue of thigh meat breaks down and becomes less chewy at about 170°.)

If for any reason, the chicken skin is not as crispy, quickly broil the chicken under the broiler.

4

When the chicken is ready, transfer it to a plate and allow to rest.

Pour the juices into a skillet and allow to simmer until it's reduced to your desired consistency, just a couple of minutes. Add cold butter and stir vigorously to emulsify into luxurious sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the chicken with the lemony pan sauce, lemon wedges and parsley.

NOTE:
5

To make this a one-dish recipe, simply:

- Combine garlic, oregano, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt) and 1/2 tsp black pepper in 9x13 baking dish.
- Place fresh chicken thighs seasoned generously with salt and pepper on top of the lemon sauce, skin side up, and brush with olive oil.
- Pour chicken stock into the pan, so that it comes to about 1/4" up the sides of the pan; do not pour over the crispy chicken skin.
- Bake in preheated oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 170°. Won't take long, start checking after 15 minutes.
- Broil the chicken towards the end of cooking to crisp up the skin.

Serve!

Lemon Chicken
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