Ina Garten aka the Barefoot Contessa. I swear, the woman can do no wrong. Say what you will about her asks for good quality ingredients, the Hamptons entertainment barn, and her packed lunches for Jeffrey. She’s got a great sense of humor about herself and every recipe I’ve ever made of hers comes out just as lovely as they seem in her cookbooks and on her show. I may not have the linens brought back from France or the flowers clipped fresh from my English-style garden, but by gosh, I can have the food!
When the chillier temperatures of fall and winter hit, I’m always ready for a warm meal. I don’t necessarily want something heavy, though. I not always up for roasting a whole chicken, either, which made this chicken just right. The lemon and thyme bring a lovely flavor without being overpowering. The cooking liquid bubbles away, leaving your kitchen smelling divine and the baking dish with plenty of evidence of your homemade meal cooked with love. (It cleans up easily, though. Don’t you worry.) Like so many of Ina’s dishes, what comes to the table and goes on your plate is equal parts beautiful, flavorful, and comforting. When I tell you this baked lemon chicken couldn’t have been simpler, I mean it. Roast up some potatoes and green beans, make a side salad, and gather your favorite people for a lovely evening at home. To use one of my favorite Queen Ina sayings, how easy is that?
With the addition of lemon, herbs, and a dash of white wine, simple baked chicken becomes comfort food that won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
Baked Lemon Chicken Breasts
from Ina Garten’s How Easy is That?
¼ c. olive oil
3 TBSP minced garlic (approx. 8-9 cloves)
⅓ c. dry white wine
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
2 TBSP freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
flaky sea salt and red pepper flakes for serving, if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for one minute. Don’t allow the garlic to brown. Pull the pan off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt, and pour into a 9-by-12-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 generously with salt and pepper. Tuck the lemon wedges in among the pieces of chicken.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for two minutes. Remove from the oven, cover the pan tightly with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. To serve, drizzle each piece of chicken with pan juices and sprinkle with flaky salt and red pepper, if desired.