What I love about this recipe is that it’s delightfully easy and you can prepare it the night before, sit it in the pot in the fridge overnight then just pop it straight in the oven in time for dinner. Voila! French-style wholefood dinner, done. You could even do the very same thing in the slow cooker and it would be tasty, nourishing and tender.
This dish has a lot going for it and is one of my go-to easy dinners that does not disappoint. It has a French-style flavour that seems a lot more sophisticated than you’d think from the simplicity of the recipe.
I like to use the thigh pieces with the bone left in, and skin on as the flavour is a lot better and you get the goodness and flavour of the bones without having to add anything extra. This recipe is self-saucing (as in you just use the ‘juices’ from the dish as a sauce when you serve it up) so no extra gravy-making is required.
This is controversial, but based on my understanding here is my evidence-based opinion on whether to eat meat or not. More important than eating a plant-based or non-plant-based diet is the way that our food is produced. If your chicken comes from a farm that is employing regenerative farming practices then carbon is being captured in the soil which has a positive impact on human-induced climate change. However, if you are eating soy-based products which are farmed non-regeneratively then these are the practices which are depleting our ecosystems of clean water, carbon-capturing soil and depleting topsoil reserves in the process – not to mention the toxic chemicals used which then threaten other crucial pieces of the puzzle, like pollinators (including bees), other animals and insects.
If we are aiming to contribute to the solution rather than the problem when it comes to climate change it is still important to eat less resource-hungry meats (like beef) and MORE sustainably farmed proteins – red meat or otherwise.
The Olive Oil
The Virgin Olive Oil brings healthy fats, bio-active antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties into the body which in turn provide multi-faceted benefits from anti-ageing effects to helping prevent heart disease, strokes and weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes and even the Big C (to name just a few).
Some of these ingredients I just always have in my pantry – like fresh garlic for example. I keep it in an open tin on the bottom shelf with onions and sweet potatoes. It stays fresh longer that way than in the fridge. The rosemary is a staple that I always have growing in my kitchen garden (even if that’s just a pot at the balcony door). It is very easy to grow.
Rosemary Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs
6 chicken thighs with bones and skin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
A few good lugs of virgin olive oil
1/2 preserved lemon chopped roughly (you can buy these and keep the jar in the fridge for ages if you use tongs to get them out and keep the jar from being contaminated by anything)
Zested rind of 1/2-1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 160ºcelsius (or 150º fan forced)
- In a mortar and pestle crush and bruise the garlic, one lug of oil and the rosemary, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Lay the chicken pieces in an oven dish (preferably one with a lid) and splash a lug or two of oil over the top.
- Zest the lemon over the chicken
- Rub the garlic and rosemary mixture all over the chicken
- Throw the preserved lemon around the chicken pieces
- Optional you can add a few chunks of onion or zucchini (courgette) or celery around the chicken too if you’d like.
- Add a cup or two of water to the dish to allow the chicken to remain tender and steam as it roasts. Top up during cooking if necessary to keep it from going dry.
- Cook the chicken with the lid on until cooked through (around 1hour to 1hr 20 mins) then remove the lid and turn the oven up to around 200º until the skin is crispy (10 minutes or so).
Serving suggestion: can be served with rice, couscous, quinoa or sweet potato, doused in its own sauce.