My brain tends to get a multitude of ideas roaming around in it all at once. Much of the time those ideas have nothing to do with each other, but when I’m hungry those random thoughts start to coalesce around the concept of eating something. Shocking, I know.
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I had one of those moments just a few days ago. There was a package of chicken ready to be used just waiting for me to get those thoughts together on what the heck I would do with it. I happened to glance out the window into the back yard and laid eyes on my little lemon tree loaded with bright yellow fruits. Suddenly the little squirrels in my brain all hopped on the same treadmill.
Ask any Greek what the most typical “Greek Mom” meal is, and this is the dish they will likely describe. It pretty much checks off all the requirements: garlic (check), lemon (check), Greek oregano (check), olive oil (check), made with love (check, check, check!).
My mom would make this on a fairly regular basis. It was quick to put together after a long day at work, and we all looked forward to eating it. It’s easy to see why. A one pan dish of chicken seasoned with lemon (lots of it), roasted to a golden brown with tender potatoes and carrots that have been bathing in that rich lemony goodness. Then you take all those lemony juices and pour them over the veggies and smash them in and… nom, nom, nom… Oh, excuse my lack of manners!
Greek Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe
- 3 lbs. chicken, whole or pieces
- 4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cut into chunks (I like baby Yukon Gold and red potatoes as they hold their shape and don’t become total mush, but it really doesn’t matter)
- several garlic cloves, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. dried oregano, Greek preferred
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. Make sure your carrots and potatoes are cut into roughly bite sized pieces. If they are too large they will not be tender by the time the chicken is done. Put carrots, garlic, and potatoes into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 tsp. of the oregano, and 1/4 tsp. of the salt and gently mix everything until the vegetables are evenly coated with the seasonings.
Put the chicken in a roasting pan, skin side down. Drizzle the meat with a little olive oil and smear it around. Evenly sprinkle the meat with 1/2 tsp. oregano and some salt. Rub the seasonings in. Turn the chicken over and repeat the same process.
Scoop the vegetables over the top of the chicken, but not the liquids. Lift the chicken pieces and place them over the top of the veggies, then evenly drizzle the liquids from the bowl over the chicken. Add just a small sprinkle of salt to the chicken, and pepper if desired.
Put the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken are no longer pink and the potatoes and carrots are tender. The easiest way to serve this is to put the chicken on a platter and scoop the vegetables into a serving bowl. Pour the juices* into a separate serving container so it can be poured over the chicken and vegetables on each person’s plate. Smash those babies into the juices with your fork and just ignore everyone’s stares. Enjoy!!
*Don’t toss any extra liquids you might have after all the food is eaten. I’m a big fan of saving these delectable tidbits in the freezer and using them for part of the broth for soups and stews. It will take those dishes to a whole new level of flavor! You can also use them for some of the liquid for rice and other grains. You’re welcome!!
**Save any chicken bones for making the most delicious broth for all your soups and stews, too!