Eating the Ersatz Moroccan Chicken, which I concocted a few weeks ago, triggered a memory of one of my best-loved childhood meals, my mother’s Chicken with Lemon Gravy. It was my favorite comfort food (a term which admittedly was non-existent 60 years ago). Not only was the chicken juicy and tender, even the breast meat, but the skin was crispy and delicious. The lemon gravy was redolent of oregano and garlic; and, as a reward if I ate all of my chicken, I could pour some of the extra gravy onto my plate and sop it up with Italian bread.
So last night in memory of mom, I cooked up a batch of her Chicken with Lemon Gravy and after eating all of my portion, 1/2 of a split-breast and a thigh, I sopped up the extra gravy with several chunks of Italian bread. It was a great trip down memory lane and I felt very comforted. With a nod toward more contemporary cuisine, the chicken was accompanied by Grilled Summer Vegetables and roasted sweet potato slices drizzled with balsamic glaze; the latter, an idea introduced to us by a friend.
5 lbs. of chicken pieces with skin on (we used 5 thighs and two split breasts, each cleaved in half*)
Juice of 8 lemons, approximately 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic, about 16 cloves.
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken piece with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, water, oregano and garlic to make a marinade.
3. Place chicken skin side down in a non-reactive pan and add marinade.
4. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature turning once after 30 minutes. If you have the time, marinate overnight in the refrigerator and turn pieces periodically.
5. Position oven rack about 6 inches below broiler element, remove chicken from marinade, place skin side up on a broiler pan and baste before placing under heat.
6. Add marinade to a small pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer while chicken is broiling.
7. Broil chicken for about 22 minutes, basting frequently with the marinade. Turn pieces and broil 22 minutes more, basting frequently.
8. Raise rack one level, turn chicken pieces skin side up, baste with marinade and broil for about 4 minutes to crisp the skin.
9. When chicken is done, remove to a plate and keep warm.
10. Add pan juices to the boiled marinade, skim the fat and serve with chicken.
*Note: This recipe provided a main course for two, with enough leftovers for another meal.