With a bounty of home-grown Meyer lemons and parsley, and a pot of fresh honey that I picked up from my beekeeper friends, it's time to dust off one of my most favourite recipes.
This has been on my repertoire since the late 1970s, when a neighbour gave me her hand written recipe. In my humble opinion, it is one of those that fits the 'best ever' recipe category. It's simple to prepare and tastes so darned good, you'll want to make it again and again.
It had been a couple of years since I made this, so I was mindful of Peter's aversion to chopped parsley (i.e. 'lawn clippings' as he calls it), but decided to ignore his whims and serve the dish with the lemon zest/parsley garnish. Guess what!? He did not complain. Instead, he chewed every scrap of meat from the bones, licked his fingers (and the plate!) and pleaded with me to make the dish again, but instructed that next time I should 'double the sauce'. Yes, it's that good!
HONEY AND LEMON CHICKEN A LA LIZZY
1 whole free-range chicken
1/2 cup plain (AP) flour
white pepper and ground sea salt
zest of 3 good sized lemons, finely chopped (for garnish)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup pure honey
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
steamed rice and steamed vegetables, to serve
First you need to joint the chicken into four segments. To do this, use a large sharp knife or poultry shears. Leave the skin on and keep the 'maryland' (the leg with the thigh) intact, and keep the breast with the wing. Cut away the backbone and save it for stock.
Combine the flour, white pepper and ground sea salt in a plastic freezer bag (or a Pyrex bowl) and mix well. Coat the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and set them aside on a platter.
Zest the lemons, then chop the zest finely and set it aside for later. Roll the lemons around on a bench top, squeezing them with the flat of your hand (you'll extract more juice this way). Now, cut the lemons in half and juice them. You should have enough to make 1/3 of a cup. Juice another lemon if you need to.
Combine the lemon juice with the honey and the chicken stock. Stir to mix well, then set it aside. Chop the parsley and combine it with the lemon zest. Set the garnish aside.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. As the butter begins to bubble, add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Lower the heat and add the liquids. Cover and cook over a low heat, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the delicious sauce has cooked down a little. Be patient. This can take some time, depending on the size of your bird.
Meanwhile steam some Jasmine rice and some vegetables. When the chicken is cooked through, plate it up, spoon over the pan juices and garnish with lemon zest and parsley. Serves 4.
Tell me dear readers, do you grown your own lemons? What are your favourite uses for lemons in your kitchen?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.