Lemon and Herb Chicken
What I love most about chicken is that it starts off as a blank canvas and can be made into something spectacular with just a few simple ingredients. This fresh, zesty and aromatic roast chicken, served with the most ideal flavourful sauce, is perfect for weeknight dinners. It goes beautifully with any number of sides, from mashed potatoes, to pasta or rice or even sautéed veggies.
First, brine the chicken. This process helps attain maximum moistness in your chicken. Take a container big enough to hold the chicken pieces. Add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, half cup white vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, throw in some roughly chopped fresh herbs like coriander or parsley. Then add COLD water and swirl/mix everything together. Now add in your cleaned chicken pieces, they should be completely immersed in the water. Cover the container and refrigerate it for 1-4 hours. Then drain out the liquid, rinse out the chicken quarters properly to get rid of any excess salt and proceed with the next step.
Mix all the remaining chicken ingredients in a small bowl. Dry each chicken piece well by blotting with paper towels. Then apply the marinade generously on each piece. Put them in a dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
Remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before you plan on cooking. When ready to cook, take a pan and drizzle a little bit of oil. Add the chicken pieces in one layer without crowding the pan (you can do this in 2 batches) and cook on both sides over high heat to seal the chicken and give it a brown coating. At this point we are not trying to cook the chicken through, just giving it a good sear, so about 2-3 minutes per side.
Once done searing the chicken pieces, place them in an oven-proof dish and set aside. In the meantime preheat the oven at 200 C.
Prepare the sauce. In the same pan that you used for searing the chicken, drizzle a tiny bit of oil then add the garlic paste and stir it in for a minute, then add the chicken broth, lemon juice, zest and any leftover marinade while stirring constantly. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer for another minute before turning off the heat. In a small bowl, mix the butter and flour together into a crumble and set aside, this will be used later.
Pour the sauce around the chicken pieces. Put the baking dish into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, remove and baste the chicken with the juices. Put the dish back into the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken pieces from the sauce onto a plate and keep them covered. Return the sauce into the pan place it on the stove over medium heat and add the crumbled butter and flour mixture that we set aside earlier. Stir/Whisk it in until well combined and the sauce is slightly thickened, rich and creamy. Return the chicken pieces back into the sauce and cover to keep warm until time to serve.
Serve the herbed chicken with its zesty sauce and a side of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or any accompaniment of your choice.