Unsuitable for vegetarians and vampires; ‘Poulet au Citron’ translates to chicken baked with lemon and a considerable amount of garlic that becomes fragrant and creamy without being overwhelmingly garlicky. The lemon slices simply melt away during cooking.
This is deliciously comforting, simple to assemble and a perfect dish for the end of summer. Its best served with rice (I recommend basmati or a wild rice pilaf). The end result is rather blonde-looking and it needs a bolt of color on the side to balance out the visual, such as a mixed leaf salad with a citrusy dressing.
The zest of the lemon isn’t used in this recipe, so I suggest mincing it and freezing for future use. Lemon zest is much too good to waste.
Notes at the end.
POULET au CITRON
4 good sized, bone-in chicken portions (legs, breast – whatever you prefer), skinned
1 pint / 70ml of chicken stock
25 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 lemon (yellow zest removed), very thinly sliced, seeds discarded
¼ pt / 150ml of dry white wine
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 oz / 50g of butter and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by simmering the whole garlic cloves in the chicken stock for 40 minutes, covered.
Season the skinned chicken portions then heat the oil and butter in a large skillet and color the pieces for 25 minutes, turning gently.
Transfer the chicken to a deep casserole dish with a lid.
Pre-heat the oven to 400F / 200C
Strain the chicken stock without breaking up the garlic. Scatter the garlic over the chicken, followed by the lemon slices. Set aside.
Add the flour to the oil and butter in the skillet and cook for a few moments, scraping up all the sticky chicken bits. Pour over the white wine, turn up the heat and de-glaze the pan, stirring well. Once it starts to thicken, add the garlic infused stock and give it a good stir. Check for seasoning then pour it over the chicken.
Cover and bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
The chicken portions need to be on the bone for this recipe.
Use organic chicken and chicken broth if possible. Costco sells their own brand of organic chicken broth which comes in a multi-pack and is perfect as a base for soups, risotto, etc. Their organic chicken is also great value.
Did you know that the roundest lemons with the smoothest skins are usually juicer with less white pith than the coarse skinned, pointy-ended ones? The round, smooth-skinned rule is true for most citrus fruits.
You can assemble the dish the day before but bring it to room temp before baking – once baked it will freeze.
I’m curious about removing the zest from the lemon. Is it discarded? I would think it would intensify the lemon flavor…or does baking it make it become bitter or what?
Interestingly, the zest would prevent the lemon slices from softening and dissolving, which is why it’s removed. The end result is fragrantly-lemony without it – so use the zest for something else, such as mincing it finely with flat leaf parsley and fresh garlic, then sprinkle it onto a veal or pork chop; ‘Gremolata’ 🙂