So delicious to eat and lovely to look at! No one would guess just how easy this classic Greek dish is to prepare! It’s hard to believe that just six ingredients could result in such a sumptuous meal. One great thing about this chicken recipe is that you can tailor it to your tastes – all white meat, all dark, a combo of the two, even skinless and boneless. The marinade also works well with pork.
I use bone-in chicken pieces with the skin attached, usually baking the pieces in a large roasting pan. However, the chicken may also be grilled. Put all the pieces in a metal pan and use your grill like an oven. Or you could grill pieces individually on well-oiled grates over indirect heat.
This recipe makes about six servings, depending on appetites and dishes served alongside. However, it is easily cut in half. If I’m making half a recipe, I usually just use my toaster oven. I’m a garlic/lemon/oregano fan, so I typically use the larger measure of those ingredients. Feel free to adjust quantities to suit your individual taste.
Many Greek families traditionally bake this chicken along with potatoes. Toss peeled potato chunks or wedges with the marinade and add to roasting pan with the chicken. You can use just about any potato you like – Yukon Gold, red, russet, etc. You may need to add up to a cup of water or chicken broth to the baking pan to insure that the potatoes cook thoroughly and do not stick. Just be sure to pour the water into one corner of the pan, not on top of food. Don’t wash off the flavorful marinade. Also, if the chicken is done before the potatoes, remove the pieces and cover with foil while the potatoes finish cooking.
Greek Roast Lemon Chicken (Kota Lemonato)
2 pounds chicken pieces (Use chicken that has not been processed with salt.)
(Optional: 2-3 pounds potatoes)
¼ cup olive oil
3-5 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced
Juice of 2-3 lemons
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons dried oregano
Remove excess fat and skin from chicken pieces. (Remove all skin, if desired.) Place pieces in non-reactive roasting pan.
Combine the marinade ingredients. Pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat all the pieces. Let chicken marinate while preparing potatoes, if using. Turn chicken pieces at least once during marinating time. Place chicken pieces so the skin is facing down on the pan bottom. If using, add potato pieces and toss to coat with marinade. Arrange potato pieces around chicken.
Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes. (If using skinless, boneless chicken pieces, bake for only 15-20 minutes.) Carefully remove hot pan from oven and gently turn over the chicken pieces so the skin is facing up. If needed, add water or broth to the pan to insure the potatoes cook thoroughly and do not stick.
Bake an additional 30 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked, tender, and skin is slightly browned. (If using skinless, boneless chicken pieces, bake for only 10-15 additional minutes.) If the chicken is done before the potatoes, remove the pieces and cover with foil while the potatoes finish cooking. Continue baking until potatoes are tender, adding more water if necessary.