Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Chicken Breasts

The weather has been so strange these past few weeks,from summer to winter and back again. The hubby and I were jonsing for some good comfort food but what to cook. The weather in SF has gone from rainy and cool to sunny and warm and back again. We weren’t ready to fully embrace winter yet. Is anyone ever?

Roast chicken seemed like the perfect solution but it’s so hard for a mid-week meal and it was already on the menu for later in the week. Flipping through cookbooks I was trying to find the next best thing. The picture for Ina’s Lemon Chicken Breasts looked amazing – homey but definitely not wintry. Another added plus, it was from the cookbook How Easy Is That?. Done and done.

I will agree with Ina that it was an easy recipe but, I am sorry Ina, this has nothing on Rao’s Lemon Chicken. I could totally be at fault for this but I found the chicken dry and, dare I say, bland. I will take credit for the blandness as I was a little shocked at how much garlic Ina added to her marinade so rather than half it, I quartered it. But it wasn’t really lacking the garlic flavor it was more the lemon flavor. I think I was also a little surprised by the choice to use a boneless chicken breast vs. a bone-in. I am learning, maybe slowly, but the best way to get juicy chicken is to cook it with its bone and skin.


I paired the chicken with some crusty bread and roasted cauliflower. Both of which were delish! If you have never tried roasted cauliflower you have to try it. I admit it, cauliflower was not a go to vegetable for me, in fact, I avoided it. Something about white broccoli that just seemed plain weird. But then it started showing up in a CSA box that we subscribed to a few years ago and I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. Into the oven it went with some olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and I was instantly converted to a cauliflower lover.

Lemon Chicken Breasts (adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?)

1/8 cup olive oil

2 large cloves of minced garlic (Ina recommended 4.5)

2 3/4 tbsp of dry white wine

1/2 tbsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on

1/2 lemon

Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant (do not allow the garlic to brown). Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon, juice, oregano, thyme, and salt. Pour into a 8×8-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 4 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

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

Try it and let me know what you think.

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