Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs


My girlfriend Alison, who is of Greek ancestry, sparked the idea for this recipe.  She asked me if I had a roasted chicken recipe that was lemony and garlicky and had oregano in it.  Sicilians and Greeks are brothers in common for their love of lemon, garlic, and oregano.  I immediately thought of my recipe for fish ammogghiu (grilling sauce), which I had leftover in my refrigerator.  The basic recipe is made with lemon, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and oregano.  I added some lemon zest and softened butter to it to make a pasty smear– and the rest is history.
Making this dish requires a large cast iron skillet.  Cast iron retains heat and renders the fat from the chicken skin, making it extra-crispy.  The result is delicious moist and tender chicken, fragrant with lemon, garlic, and oregano, with a crisp skin on the outside.


Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 whole black peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large skin-on bone-in chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven and heat for 10 minutes.

Put the parsley, fresh oregano, garlic, salt and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and mash into a paste.

Stir in the butter, lemon zest, and dried oregano.  Add the olive oil and stir until combined.

Place the chicken thighs skin side up on a plate and smear half of the garlic/herb butter on top.

Carefully place skin-side down into the hot skillet.  Coat the top with the remaining garlic herb butter and bake for 20 minutes.  Turn the chicken thighs over skin-side up, baste with the pan juices and continue baking for 20 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F.  If the chicken fails to brown properly, you can place it under the broiler for about 5 minutes.

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