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Gaddina Limuni Sicilianu (Sicilian Lemon Chicken)

The best Sicilian farmhouse chicken for a bright, yet hearty meal.

Chef's Notes:

This farmhouse dish is a nod to my Sicilian heritage and the small farming village where my Grandmother grew up. From my visits when I was a little girl, I remember tons of fruit and olive trees, roaming chickens, and air wonderfully pungent with the scent of the Mediterranean. Olives, Sicilian lemons, and oregano are all quite prominent in this chicken recipe making it a perfect light, yet hardy, springtime dish. I recommend serving it with a shaved fennel salad and a nice dry rosé.

Prep time 20 minutes; Total cook time 50-70 minutes—Serves Four


For the marinade:

1/2 cup Sicilian olives (pitted)

2 tbsp olive brine

2 cloves garlic (smashed)

juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)

2 tbsp olive oil

For the roasting pan:

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic (smashed)

4 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)

3 lbs small new potatoes (I like to mix red and white)

2 medium sweet onions (Walla Walla or Maui)

8 chicken thighs

2 lemons

1/2 cup Sicilian olives (pitted)

1/4 cup olive brine

1/2 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Purée all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor or small blender until they become a soft paste. You’re looking for the consistency of a thick dressing so add a little more olive oil if it’s too thick.

3. Coat chicken pieces with the marinade in a shallow dish and cover. Refrigerate and let marinate six hours or overnight.

4. Add remaining olive oil, oregano, and garlic to a large roasting pan or dutch oven.

5. Halve onions and slice them into thick 1/4” slices. Quarter potatoes. Add onions and potatoes to roasting pan and toss well to coat with the olive oil and oregano.

6. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

7. Slice remaining two lemons into 1/8” rounds and add to the top of the potato and onion mixture.

8. Bake 25-30 minutes until potatoes start to brown.

9. 10 minutes before the potato mixture is ready to come out of the oven, drizzle a cast iron skillet with olive oil and bring to a medium to high heat. If a small drop of water added to the pan sizzles, it’s ready. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, onto the skillet and brown until the skins are crispy (about five minutes). This will seal in the juices and create a very nice flavor so don’t skip this step! It’s worth it.

10. Remove roasting pan with the potato mixture from the oven and add remaining olives, brine, water and the seared chicken (skin side up).

11. Roast for another 30-45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the largest part of the breast reads 165°F.

#siciliancuisine #farmsteaditalian #recipes

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