Ever feel like you have to watch a lot of sub-par movies before you get to one that really floats your boat? That’s how I also feel about chicken dishes. Some are so-so, some are pretty good, and then cowabunga! – you make one that is so outstanding, you must share it with the rest of the world.
My friend Melissa, who recently withdrew from the food blogging fray, told me a while ago about this recipe that she discovered over at Food on the Food. Actually, she told me about it a few times. And with fervor. So, I printed it out. And it sat on my desk…I think for four months. Of course it was absolutely fantastic and I’m kicking myself for not making it sooner. Ah, coulda-woulda-shoulda.
The skin was crispy, with a perfect balance of sweet flavor from the sugar and tartness from the lemon zest. And the smooth, buttery pan juices engulfed every nook and cranny, keeping the meat moist. This was so good, I’m cooking up a second batch later in the week.
Like some of my favorite movies I have memorized word for word, I am certain I will be making this chicken dish so many times that eventually I won’t need to refer to the recipe anymore.
Don’t be silly and put this off like I did. You must make it. NOW. You really must.
Balsamic Lemon Chicken
Prep time: 10 minutes + 20 minutes in refrigerator
Cook time: 30 minutes
• 8 chicken pieces (legs and thighs, skin on, bone-in)
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 lemons, zested, 1 juiced, and the other cut into wedges
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Prick the chicken pieces all over with a fork and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar with half of the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Mix the sugar with the remaining lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, and place chicken skin-side-down in the pan along with the remaining marinade. Cook until the chicken is browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, and then flip each piece over and cook 1 minute more. Sprinkle the lemon sugar over the chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is completely cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 F, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven. Cut remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and scatter around chicken. Pour lemon juice over everything. Once butter is melted, serve with pan sauce drizzled over the chicken and lemon wedges on the side.
(originally from Food on the Food)