Many years ago my friend Liz and I had painting mornings – one morning a week we packed food, drink, and our painting gear into my Citroen Dyane, and went off into the orchards surrounding Rehovot. Having found a spot to paint in, we would download all the equipment and food from the car. We’d also take out the back car seat (that was an amazing car – they don’t make them like that any more). We would then sit down, have some food and a drink, and paint. That was our time, no one could take it from us. The paintings were always a success, and our picnic lunch was always the highlight of these adventures. This wonderful friendship included many recipe exchanges and many memorable meals. My favorite was Lemon Chicken: Liz produced a huge roast chicken, and proceeded to cut it up – presenting a “bellyful” of lemons, roasted inside the chicken. After cutting the chicken up Liz cut open the lemons and squeezed the remaining juice over the chicken – one mouthful and I was in heaven.
Liz and David returned to the USA twenty years ago. I still miss them. We keep in touch, but we have not actually met since they left. Liz’s lemon chicken has been with me all these years, and I have discovered and tried out many variations. One of my favorites is lemon chicken with butter. Wicked – but delicious and so easy.
• 6 chicken pieces ( thighs or legs)
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 large lemon
• 2 cloves garlic
• salt & pepper to taste
• mixed herbs ( Thyme, Marjoram,Tarragon,Chives)
(fresh chopped chives to garnish)
(Pour yourself a cup of sherry to drink while you cook – it always makes cooking more fun.)
Melt 1/4 cup butter and put in a flat oven-proof dish (One of Mike’s casserole dishes of course). Lay the chicken pieces in the casserole, turn over a few times till they are coated in butter. Slice the lemon and garlic and scatter over the chicken. Sprinkle salt, pepper and herbs, cut the remaining butter into small chunks and and scatter over the top. Place into a medium hot oven with lid on , cook for 20 minutes, Remove lid, baste, and return to oven without the lid. Continue basting every 20 minutes, until brown and fully roasted ( make sure the juices of the chicken run clear to ensure it is fully cooked).
Remove from oven, sprinkle the chopped fresh chives and serve with plain cooked rice and a green salad.
Now just sit down, relax, and enjoy!
Variations: Why not try oranges instead of lemons? Yummy. The flavour of the burnt orange peel adds a wonderful flavour to this dish.
For more of a Mediterranean flavour, use olive oil instead of butter.