Lemon-Oregano Chicken

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

My friends, I owe you a recipe. Luckily I happen to have a good one, one that’s worth sharing, one that works for both Nap-Time Cooking and Big Batch Cooking.

Today I made dinner to bring to a family we know, a preschool friend of Harry’s with a brand-spankin’-new baby. (Given my whole Parents Need to Eat Too shtick, I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and actually feed someone.) The dish I made, Lemon-Oregano Chicken, was easy to put together in the morning, easy to cook late in the day, and deliciously satisfying at dinnertime. It yields enough to feed a crowd—in addition to giving our friends two meals, it also served as our own dinner tonight. If I were making this just for us, I’d pull the leftovers from the bones, dice or shred, and freeze in quart-sized freezer bags. Then, when the mere thought of cooking is more than I can handle, I’d defrost a bag and make my (relatively) low-fat Chicken Pot Pie or Whaddya Got Fried Rice.

And whodathunk? Harry loved it. Granted, he insisted that I top each little morsel with olive oil and salt (he’s convinced that this is how all food should be served, and I’m going with it as long as he’s trying new things). But he willingly tasted it, then asked for more, and then more again. Instead of the potatoes, carrots, and fennel I roasted he opted to pair it with red grapes and capers, and that’s just fine with me. Dude’s got some interesting eating habits, all right.

Lemon-Oregano Chicken
Serves 6 to 8
Weight Watchers: A drumstick is 1 point, and thighs and breasts are each 3 points. This is all without skin, of course, and we’re talking reasonably-sized pieces, not jumbo. (I don’t count the oil in the marinade since so little is absorbed.)

1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Salt & pepper
3 cloves garlic
6 pounds chicken parts (from about 2 chickens)

  1. Put the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper into a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag.
  2. Roughly chop the garlic, then sprinkle a little bit more salt on top. Drag the edge of your knife across it repeatedly—the friction you get from the salt will break down the garlic into a paste. Add this paste to the bag, then add the chicken.
  3. Seal the bag, mush everything around a bit, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and as long as overnight. (If you’re Nap-Timing it, do this during the morning nap.) If you think of it, reposition the bag every so often to allow the marinade to penetrate evenly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to help with cleanup later) and set a cooling rack on top. Coat the rack with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  5. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Take the pieces from the bag and pat each one dry before placing it on the rack. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, then slip it into the oven.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes, then carefully pour 1/2 cup of hot tap water into the baking sheet—this will help prevent smoke from filling your kitchen. Roast another 20 minutes or so, at which point the drumsticks and wings should be done. Remove them to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  7. Roast the breasts and thighs another 10 to 20 minutes, until the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove the skin before eating, and force yourself to discard it. It’ll be difficult, I know, but you can do it. Unless you’re not watching your calories/cholesterol, in which case knock yourself out.