Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken
Is there a meal that instantly reminds you of your childhood? For me, it’s roasted chicken with crispy skin seasoned with oregano and dowsed in lemon and olive oil “zoumi” (juices).
When I was younger, my mom would ask me what I wanted for my birthday dinner each year, and the majority of the time, my answer was this chicken with mashed potatoes and corn. I loved the crispy skin of the chicken and the extra buttery mashed potatoes that I would top with corn (and more butter) instead of gravy.
As an adult, I save the mashed potatoes and corn for special occasions (i.e. Thanksgiving) and opt for something healthier on the side (sigh). Honestly, having a food blog makes you fat, so I have to try my hardest to eat healthy when I’m controlling the ingredients. Admittedly, I don’t always succeed because I love cheese, carbs, and snacking. Whatever.
Let’s talk about ingredients. I’m lucky in the sense that I have been to Greece a handful of times, so the oregano that I’m using grows in the mountains on the island of Kalymnos (where my family is originally from). What I mean here is that I’m spoiled - I use my Greek oregano until I run out and that’s when I know it’s time for me or a family member to head back for a re-up. Since I understand that this is the exception, not the rule, I recommend buying your spices in bulk from import stores and spice shops - they tend to be more authentic and it beats paying $5.99 for the brand name spices at the grocery store. When it’s a matter of convenience, I opt for Badia brand spices when I can find them. They are cheaper and just as good as brand names in my opinion. Since my oregano is wild, I use my super cute marble mortar and pestle (thanks wedding registry!) to grind it up a bit more. The smell is simply intoxicating.
Next up - good quality olive oil. As a Greek and Italian American, my idea of good olive oil is 100% made in one of those two countries (not both). Read the label on your current olive oil bottle (pure or extra virgin) - you might be surprised that they list 3 or more countries on there. It might just be in my head, but I feel like I can taste the difference in quality between the oils that come in a glass jar vs. plastic and are 100% from one of my Mediterranean countries. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are more expensive, and I like to keep cheaper olive oil on hand for more complex recipes where it isn’t a key ingredient.
No matter what ingredients you end up using, I know you’re going to love this recipe. With minimal prep time, these chicken thighs are something you can quickly throw into the oven while you tend to other things around the house. Pair it with roasted asparagus with olive oil, lemon juice, salt/pepper, and cumin and red skin potatoes with olive oil, salt/pepper, and rosemary. Or go crazy and make mashed potatoes with corn and extra butter, I won’t tell ;-)
Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken
This lemony chicken is so easy to make, and with crispy skin and addicting juice, I bet it will live among your favorite chicken recipes.
Makes: 6 servings
- 6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
- 1.5 T oregano
- 1 lemon
- Olive oil (the good stuff)
- Preheat oven at 375 with the rack in the middle of the oven.
- Place chicken thighs in a glass baking dish and drizzle with good quality olive oil. Microwave one lemon for 10 seconds (gets the juices flowing), then cut in half and squeeze over the chicken thighs.
- Generously season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Flip each thigh over and repeat.
- Flip chicken thighs so they're skin-side up. Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through (use a meat thermometer if needed). Switch oven to broil and move chicken to top rack for 1-2 minutes for an extra crispy finish.
- Serve chicken thighs with side veggies and/or potatoes with PLENTY of the lemony olive oil on the plate for dipping.