Lemony garlicky chicken and potatoes with a beautiful comforting sauce so vibrant it will fade away any worries you might have.
My mum recalled how this was one of the first dishes she learnt after leaving home from her aunty.
She has made different versions of it over the years but the basic recipe has stayed the same.
You can use either chicken breast, thighs or a whole quartered chicken to make this dish.
Thighs have superior flavour and can handle being slow cooked for longer.
Chicken breasts are great for when you want a speedy supper and don't have too much time on your hands.
Of course, a whole chicken will give you the best of both and keep everyone in the family happy.
I fry off the chicken in a non stick pan first to give it a nice colour. I then add some aromatics and braise it so it develops a nice flavour.
You will need potatoes that can handle being slow cooked in liquid and still hold their shape.
A nice waxy potato will do the job nicely, or even small salad ones that stay firm when boiled.
I also like to half fry the potato before I add them to chicken and finish off the whole dish in the oven so they get a nice colour on them.
The juice of two whole lemons is roughly the amount that you will need.
You might think this will make it super sour but the lemons will cook with the braised chicken and also get absorbed by the potatoes.
You can even add the zest of the lemons to the dish to make it even lemonier, which can only be a good thing.
You will need good amounts of garlic for this dish. In fact you will need 4-6 good sized cloves of garlic.
I know some relatives like to add even more so you can't hide from the garlic taste.
The garlic is roughly chopped (not minced) and sautéed in some butter until slightly golden.
You do not want the taste of burnt garlic it will ruin the whole dish, so keep your eye on it and undercook the garlic rather than going over just in case.
The garlic butter will then be added to the lemon juice before going into the final dish, where it will also cook for another good ten minutes or so.
Tips for making the best lemon garlic chicken and potatoes
In principle, this dish is quite easy to make. However there are a few extra steps that will make the difference between an ok version and a memorable one.
Add the aromatics such as the cardamom, peppercorn, bay leaves and cinnamon stick to the chicken and let them simmer with the chicken to give a deep flavour, then remove them before adding the potatoes.
You can serve the chicken on the bone or shred it coarsely and add it back to the sauce.
Either way it's delicious and I have a feeling this will soon become a family favourite.
Lebanese lemon garlic chicken and potatoes
Chicken and potatoes with a vibrant lemon garlic sauce
For the chicken marinade
- 750 g of chicken thighs or 1 quartered chicken
- 1/2 tsp 7 spice
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp regular olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 onion quartered
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 5-7 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- Boiling water
For the garlic lemon sauce
- 4-6 cloves of garlic chopped
- Juice of 2 lemons approx
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/8 tsp turmeric tiny pinch
For the potatoes
- 4 medium potatoes
- Vegetable oil for frying
To prepare the marinade
In a bowl, add the 7 spice, turmeric, black pepper and salt with 2 tbsp of regular olive oil.
Add the washed chicken and rub in well, using your hands to get the marinade under the skin if necessary. Marinade for at least a few hours, preferably over night.
To make the lemon garlic chicken
In a deep non stick pan, add a drizzle of regular olive oil and flash fry the chicken on medium high heat for around ten minutes till they brown
Then add the aromatics (cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick and bay leaves) as well as the onion that has been quartered and half a tablespoon of salt
Cover with enough boiling water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow the chicken to simmer for around 45 minutes
As the chicken simmers, chop the peeled potatoes into thickish rounds (around 2cm) and half fry in vegetable oil just until they are slightly golden. Transfer to a kitchen towel lined plate and set aside
To make the lemon garlic sauce
Coarsely chop the cloves of garlic and add them to a small pan with the butter. Add a tiny pinch of turmeric and simmer on low just so the garlic starts to turn beige (not golden) for around five minutes
Add the garlic butter mixture to the juice of two lemons. Mix well and set aside
After 45 minutes of the chicken simmering, take out the aromatics and the onion
Add the potatoes in between the chicken and pour over the garlic lemon mixture
Simmer for another ten minutes on the hob or in the oven at (180C/350F), carefully taste the sauce before you turn the heat off and adjust the salt or seasoning if necessary
Serve the chicken and potatoes in a shallow bowl with some of the garlic lemon sauce.
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