It’s not often that I’m blown away by a chicken recipe.
We can all cook chicken a few different ways, put it on the grill or roast it in the oven, change up the seasonings, or add a tasty sauce.
But honestly, it’s a little easy to get tired of chicken.
So imagine how excited I was when this simple and easy chicken recipe turned out to be INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!
It cooks in a skillet right on the stovetop. Nothing fancy. Nothing fussy. Yet prepare to be amazed by its tenderness and flavor.
Here’s what you need:
Chicken, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon, Olive Oil, White Wine, Butter, Salt & Pepper.
Fresh herbs are essential here. Dried herbs won’t offer the same depth of flavor and in fact might be too strong and overwhelm the dish. Fresh herbs are found in almost every grocery produce section these days or are easily grown in your own yard. (More on that in a post later this week!)
IMPORTANT NOTE: For the best flavor, this chicken needs to marinate for at least an hour. Longer is better so you can even prepare this and let it marinate overnight or put it together earlier in the day before you plan to cook and let it hang out in the refrigerator. The marinating step is essential and I think what makes this better than your average chicken dish.
The marinade is simple to put together. Smash, peel, and roughly chop 4-5 big cloves of garlic.
Grab a large dish like a 9×13 inch baking pan that will easily accommodate all your chicken. Put the garlic, a big handful of fresh thyme, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in the dish. Drizzle in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Yes, only 1 Tablespoon of oil. Unlike a lot of marinades, this doesn’t leave your chicken swimming in a bunch of oil. 1 Tablespoon is all it takes.
In the quick and easy category, you can just leave the herbs whole and right on the stem. No need to chop them up as they will fall apart when they cook. The original recipe only used thyme, but I added rosemary and it really boosts the flavor. Since rosemary is much stronger in flavor however, you only need 2 or 3 sprigs compared to the fairly large bunch of thyme.
For the chicken, I’m using a whole chicken already cut up for me at the store. Sometimes called a “cut up fryer”, you get 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings, a back, and some innards. I save the wings, back, and innards in a freezer bag for making stock. You could also use whatever combination of chicken pieces you like. If you’re a dark meat fan, go with just legs and thighs.
You can see that I’ve also done my weird thing of skinning half the chicken pieces. Aside from making me happy to not have the skin on my pieces and making my husband happy TO have skin on his, removing the skin from half cuts down on the fat in the dish. If you leave all of the skin on, you will need to skim off a little of the chicken grease at the end before you make your sauce.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and put them in the pan with the herbs.
Get in there with you clean hands and massage the herbs, garlic, and oil into the chicken. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and marinate for at least 1 hour.
Before you’re ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge for about 15 minutes so that it’s not ice cold going into the pan.
Place the chicken in a large skillet (that has a lid) over medium heat. Try to nestle the chicken pieces on the bottom of the pan with the herbs and garlic on top. Be sure to scrape in any remaining oil and herbs from the marinating dish.
Cook the chicken for 10 minutes WITHOUT TOUCHING OR MOVING IT. After 10 minutes, use a spatula to flip the chicken. It should turn easily but if it is sticking, don’t force it and rip it all up, just let it cook for another minute or two and it should release from the pan.
After you flip the chicken, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid (or foil) and cook, without moving, for another 15 – 20 minutes.
You can see that the meat is already getting so tender that it is almost falling off the bone. Check one of the breast pieces for doneness by piercing it with a sharp knife to be sure the juices run clear.
When the breasts are fully cooked, remove them from the pan and pour in 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
Stir the wine around the pieces of dark meat that are still in the pan being sure to scrape up any tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer the sauce about 5 minutes more then remove the remaining chicken pieces to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
The herbs should have mostly fallen apart by now. I like to pick out any little twigs and stems that might be floating in the sauce.
Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Then finish the sauce by whisking in 1 Tablespoon of butter.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
I served this with an incredible side dish of Quinoa with Brown Butter and Arugula (recipe coming soon).
This lovely dish is from the new cookbook by Melissa Clark the food writer for the NY Times. Everything I’ve made so far from her cookbook, Cook This Now has been fantastic.
Here’s the recipe!