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Lemon Chicken Breasts + Roasted Asparagus

I have been asked several times why I don’t have more chicken recipes on this blog.  I realized that this is true; besides a few soups, I haven’t posted about an actual chicken dish.  The truth is this: as easy as people (including me) think chicken is to make, it’s actually not.  Chicken often turns out bland, overcooked, and generally boring – three things I don’t want my food (or this blog) to be.

So I turned to a reliable source for a good, easy, and fast chicken recipe: Ina.  And Ina came through for me.  I made this on a weeknight, and it came together in just under an hour.  The recipe calls for boneless, skin-on breasts, but I couldn’t find that combination, so I went bone-in, skin-on.  I never eat  the skin, but roasting with the skin on makes for one moist and juicy chicken.  I paired it with roasted asparagus, which is even easier to make: wash and trim asparagus, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a sheet pan in the same oven as the chicken.  When the chicken has 15 minutes left, place the asparagus in the oven on the rack below the chicken, and you’re done.  As Ina likes to say these days, “How easy is that?”  (Yes, this line – and the title of her new cookbook – is so cheesy … but I still love her.)

Lemon Chicken Breasts

This recipe comes together fast, but if you plan ahead, prepare the sauce and assemble with the chicken in the roasting pan that morning or the night before you want to make it.  Place the prepared dish in the fridge until you want to roast it.  Allowing the chicken to marinate for several hours or overnight will result in even better flavor.

Adapted from Ina Garten

Serves 4, adjust recipe for any number of servings

Total time: 45 minutes


1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons, depending on the size)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

1.  Make sauce/marinade: Heat the olive oil on medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Once hot, remove the pan from heat and immediately add the garlic and stir. After one minute, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. As a side note, Ina rubs the dried oregano between her hands while she sprinkles the oregano in the pan, because this releases the oils in the spice. Pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.  If you are only making 2 breasts, you can use an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pat the chicken breasts dry and put them skin side up over the sauce in the baking dish. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Tuck the lemon wedges among the pieces of chicken.  If preparing dish for later, cover baking dish with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until you want to bake it.

3.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (this will depend on the size of your chicken breasts) until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned.  If the chicken isn’t browned enough, you can put it under the broiler for 2 minutes.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and serve with the pan juices.

Roasted Asparagus

Serves 4

Total time: 30 minutes


1 pound asparagus
A few tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash asparagus, break off the tough ends, and place the asparagus on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, then toss with your hands to coat the asparagus completely.   Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20  minutes (depending on how thick the asparagus are), until tender but still a little crisp.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. kg #

    as i noted..this is basically greek chicken, which I make often enough. great recipe :-)

    March 23, 2011
    • Yes, except when she makes it on her show, she talks about how provençal the recipe is … sometimes I think like she goes out of her way to make all her recipes as French as possible, even if it’s only in name.

      March 23, 2011
  2. Ilana #

    This looks like a yummy dinner that even I could make! :)

    March 23, 2011
    • You know how I like to harass you about cooking more … maybe you should try this over the weekend :)

      March 23, 2011
  3. This just screams spring. I may do this tonight.

    March 23, 2011
  4. i agree, it definitely isn’t the easiest protein to cook! but this sounds like a great dish :)

    April 4, 2011
  5. I have the same issues with chicken. This recipe looks great thought!

    March 21, 2012
  6. Chicken and asparagus, light, healthy and oh so flavorful. Love the flavors you’ve got going on here. Thanks for sharing, buzzed ya =]

    March 21, 2012
  7. I’m a huge Ina fan too–and love roasted asparagus. Looks like a terrific dinner!

    March 21, 2012
  8. Mmmm, beautiful! I adore roasted asparagus, and lemon chicken is always a pleasure.

    March 21, 2012
  9. This chicken looks fantastic! What a great recipe! This is a great Spring meal, especially with the simply roasted asparagus mmm. Sounds delish!

    March 21, 2012
  10. What a great recipe, this looks SO delicious! :)

    March 21, 2012
  11. I agree that chicken is not really easy to make or at least, not make properly. This looks really good and I also love Ina (cheesy though she is). You’ve inspired me :)

    March 23, 2012

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