I have mixed feelings about this recipe. Not because it’s anything less than grab-a-crust-and-wipe-the-plate tasty. More because of the sour taste in my mouth after watching my child, yet again, turn up his nose at my cooking.
It’s no surprise when he does that, and I’ve become pretty good at not caring—I make sure there’s always something on the table he’ll eat. But in this case, I got my hopes up. Harry, Stephen, and I were in the kitchen about an hour before dinnertime, and on a whim I asked the guys what I should do with the chicken in the fridge.
“Roast it!” Harry said.
“Something with lemon?” Stephen said.
“Roast it with lemon!” Harry said.
So I roasted boneless, skinless chicken breasts with lemon, just like Harry suggested. I threw in some vegetables to keep from having to think up a side dish (if I had potatoes, they would’ve gone in to make a complete meal in one pan). It tastes fantastic, tart and sweet and those crushed garlic cloves get so mellow…
This is the perfect weeknight chicken. The whole thing, from smashing the garlic to drizzling that citrusy sauce over the browned chicken in the serving platter, took about 40 minutes. If you don’t add this one to your repertoire, well, you’re missing out.
Harry didn’t even taste it. Not a single bite. I had no idea I was doing so, but by cooking the chicken in the same baking dish as the vegetables, I contaminated it. That’s a new wrinkle in his Excuses for Not Eating Mom’s Cooking. He swallowed a few forkfuls of rice, and nothing more. Stephen saw the steam coming out of my ears and shot me the Don’t Push It look. I balled my hands into such tight fists, my fingernails left little half-moons in my palms.
The rudeness kills me. In general I refuse to cook specifically for him—but in this case, it seemed like a family thing, planning dinner together. I enjoyed it. I looked forward to sitting down for a pleasant meal. And then he snubbed it. Snubbed me.
I really have to stop taking this so personally.
Quick Lemon-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 lemon, separately zested and juiced
3 sprigs thyme
2 carrots, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
6-8 red potatoes, cut into chunks, optional
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 large chunks
salt & pepper
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
cooked rice and/or crusty bread, for serving
Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Pour olive oil into a 13 x 9 baking dish and add the garlic, lemon zest, thyme, carrots, red pepper, optional potatoes, thyme, chicken breasts, and salt & pepper. Use your hands to toss well.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then add vermouth and lemon juice. Return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more, until chicken is no longer pink in the center. (A meat thermometer should register 160°.) Remove thyme stems before serving.
- Serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce or, if you’re not using potatoes, serve on rice.
MAKE BABY FOOD: This whole thing is safe for baby, pureed or as finger food—don’t be surprised if your kid loves the lemony sauce. One note: Because the alcohol is added towards the end, it won’t have time to cook off—transfer the sauce to a small pot and simmer for a few minutes. It’s only 1/4 cup for the entire dish, so there won’t be much alcohol left by then.