Winner Winner Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Dinner

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Yes ... it tastes as good as it looks!

Yes … it tastes as good as it looks!

Lemons are some of my best friends, and in my eyes lemon heightens the flavor of almost everything: baked goods, melon, papaya, chicken, fish…I could go on and on but you get the picture.  So when I spotted a recipe for Lemon Chicken on the blog The View from Great Island, I had to try it.

From the start I streamlined and made the original recipe much simpler.  I dried off the chicken thighs* and cut away any extra fat, then rubbed the seasoning into the skin.  I next eliminated brushing the chicken with oil because after all, the chicken thighs (and breasts if you use them) are baked with their skin on.  Hello?! The fat from the skin renders out and creates a moist yet crisp crusty crunchy layer.

I patted salt, pepper and added some smoked paprika onto the skin mainly to give the chicken color but also because it gave another dimension to the finished dish.   Ever interested in simplifying – I didn’t baste the chicken as suggested either. Rather when it was finished I took my kitchen tongs and flipped the individual pieces over a few times to coat them with the chicken fat (aka shmaltz).  I used tarragon instead of thyme, mostly because I am not a thyme fan yet I have a lot of fresh tarragon at the moment on my rooftop garden and I looooooove tarragon (not as much as lemon, but almost as much).  And I made a bit less of the lemon sauce, mainly because I don’t like things floating in sauce.  You could go back to the original recipe which makes a quarter more sauce and put the extra in a gravy boat to pass and pour on top of the chicken before digging in.

This is going in my “Things I Love” folder because it is so darned good and it looks so pretty and most important, it tastes delicious.  I served this with barely steamed string beans (green and purple, although the purple lost a little of it’s color in the process).  And I had some leftover sweet potato wedges on the side.  For dessert?  I ate an insane amount of fresh raspberries – yet another fave.

I am a happy camper, and you will be too if you try this!  Next I’m making this lemon sauce for  grilled or baked fish.  Heavenly. And – easy peasy lemon squeezy (pun intended).

(*I like thighs more than the breasts so I will do only thighs next time. If you choose to use some chicken breasts with skin and bone on, I’d wait for the thighs to roast ten minutes before adding the breast pieces to the tray.)

Winner Winner Lemon-Tarragon Chicken

Serves 4



  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (trim any extra skin that hangs off the thigh)
  • Salt, ground black pepper and smoked paprika (be generous with the seasoning)
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature Important!
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup black olives, oil cured
  • Fresh tarragon leaves (1 ½ Tbsp chopped) and some tarragon sprigs to garnish
  • Extra lemon slices to garnish

Preheat oven to 425, line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and place the dried thighs on the foil lined pan with the skin up.  Pat the salt, pepper and paprika into the skin so it stays put.  Bake about 35-40 minutes.

When you are ten minutes away from the chicken being finished, whisk the yolks and add the lemon juice in a bowl.  Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until it boils, and slowly pour this into the yolk/juice mixture while whisking vigorously.  Pour the yolk/juice/stock mix back into the saucepan and gently heat on medium low just until it gets a little thicker – you have to whisk constantly here so nothing curdles.  Don’t let the mixture simmer or boil at all. When it is a little thick (this took very little time for me) , take it off the heat.

Cover a platter (one with a bit of a rim so the sauce doesn’t drip of) with the lemon sauce.

Remove the chicken pieces from the roasting tray and use tongs turn them over a few times so they are glistening with the drippings.  Place the pieces, skin side up, on top of the sauce.  Scatter the olives about, and sprinkle the chicken with chopped tarragon.  

Serve with a large seasonal salad and steamed green beans or broccoli.  Enjoy!

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