Chicken with a lemon ring of trimmings
Inspiration for meals can often creep on me in the unlikeliest of places. I believe sweating in 50 degree heat on a hectic train home from work was the light bulb moment for this meal and I had never been more thankful for it.
I had one of those nights ahead of me that included apartment cleaning, clothes washing and bill organising and sweating over a stove was not something I wished to add to the list. Therefore I needed something I could leave to cook in the background with little preparation that produced a light, Summery and gentle meal that wasn’t too stodgy for the already sweat inducing air.
Therefore my lemony ring saved the day.
Please feel free to rename this dish as you see fit – however I assure you, the sharp and refreshing taste of the lemon trimmings will really offer you a soft landing on a turbulent day when you just want something uplifting, fresh yet wonderfully filling.
This really is one of the simplest meals in my arsenal that I like to throw at people when I’d rather be doing other things. I first began with a round roasting dish – round dishes heat very evenly guaranteeing that everything is cooked right without leaving anything behind.
I placed the chicken breast in the centre of the roasting dish with a little olive oil drizzled on top of it – but not too much. I then chopped up a small amount of fresh coriander (I only used fresh as my mother grows a beautiful pot of it at home when I visit, feel free to use packet) and smothered the chicken. The aroma of coriander is equally as invigorating as the taste so even rubbing an oily chicken in coriander will absorb its flavour.
I then sloppily cut up a yellow pepper and some roasting potatoes. I don’t peel the potatoes out of laziness. It’s my kitchen at the end of the day. The reason I chose a yellow pepper is purely for aesthetic. I wanted a summery feel to this, that was only accentuated with the upcoming lemon therefore a yellow pepper just seemed to fit the bill.
I placed the cut potatoes and peppers in a ‘ring’ around the chicken. The ring wasn’t so much for decoration as it was for heat distribution. At the time I was cooking with a fan assisted oven and wanted the trimmings to get an even distribution of heat so in a round pan, a ring just seemed to make more sense.
I then sliced an un-waxed lemon in half and juiced the absolute living daylight out of it. I then poured – not over the chicken – but more around the chicken, splashing the acidic sweetness over the trimmings. I threw some white pepper and some sea salt flakes over the dish, covered the roasting dish with some foil and placed in the oven on 200.
I cracked on with my evening but around the 30 minute mark I took the foil off the pan and put back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes so that the chicken was sure to cook right through and the trimmings were roasted in the exposed oven heat allowing the pepper to brown and the potatoes to crisp on the outside and remain fluffy on the inside.
The acid of the lemon disappears in the roast leaving only the beautiful aromatic tang hanging on to the trimmings while the chicken is innocently crowned with the green coriander. The combination allows for both meal components to compliment not combat each other in an uncomplicated and clean way.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t swill this meal down with a glass of chardonnay however your chosen beverage at the end of a stressful day will always taste sweet, made even sweeter with that lemony ring.
I’m still not sure about that name, though.