Super Simple Crispy Lemon & Herb Chicken {Whole30}

This is one of the simplest ways to cook chicken, yet is packed with flavor. With a bounty of fresh ingredients muddled into a marinade, this dish is light, vibrant, and healthy. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can either mix them in a food processor or simply smash them together in a bowl with a wooden spoon. As with all meats, the flavors will have more depth the longer they marinade. P1110944-3 During spring and summer, onions and lemon are abundant… farmer’s markets are speckled with green and yellow everywhere!  Similarly, fresh herbs grow wildly… this is the perfect dish to utilize some of that goodness. P1110946-2 I created this recipe for my spring cookbook {pictured in the sidebar to the right}.  Since, I’ve made it a gazillion times… no recipe needed.  I just muddle some fresh herbs, onion, garlic, olive oil, and lemon.  I don’t measure or anything… once you make this once, you’ll likely be the same.  It’s really that simple… :) P1110947-2 So what’s the deal with spring, green, and scallion?  They have many names… green onions, scallions, spring onions.  They’re all pretty similar.  Scallions and green onions tend to be long and thin all the way down, good for chopping up and using raw.  Spring onions, on the other hand, are onions picked early, in spring.  They have a small bulb at the base, and can be used both for the greens and he onion bulb.  People often refer to them all as the same thing… depending on what part of the country or even world you live n, you may hear them referred to as one more than the other.  For this, use whatever you can get your hands on :)

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As you’ll see below, I’ve made several varieties of this dish.  The simple lemon and herb combo is absolutely delicious, a fave around here… but if you’re wanting to change things up, try adding in some Dijon mustard and honey, too!  We alternate version around here.  :)

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makes four thighs

INGREDIENTS

for chicken…

4 chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on

1 tbsp ghee (or butter, if preferred/not Whole30)

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

dash of crushed red pepper

1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

handful chopped spring or green onion

 

for marinade…

¼ cup chopped spring onion, green and white parts

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

*for an alternate version, try adding 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp Dijon mustard into the marinade!

**a cast iron pan is recommended… you want a pan that can be used on the stovetop and in the oven

***legs or bone-in/skin-on breasts will work, too- just adjust cooking time as needed :)

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

To make the marinade…

Finely chop the onion, garlic, and parsley

Add them to a mortar or small bowl

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Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper, and olive oil

(If try the Dijon-honey version, add them now, as well)

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Grind everything until a saucy texture has formed

(Alternatively, chop in a food processor, if preferred)

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Pat chicken things dry

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the skin

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Scoop the marinade over the chicken thighs,

smothering the herbs and garlic over the tops as much as possible

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Cover and marinate for at least one hour, up to 24 hours

(It’s best to cook chicken at room temp- remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking)

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Before cooking, remove any large chickens of herb garlic, and

onion from the chicken skin, and place them under the thighs- this will help create a crispy skin on top

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Sprinkle with red pepper flakes- the more you add, the spicier it will be

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Add ghee to a large pan (cast iron if preferred) over medium-high heat

Place the chicken skin-side down (the herbs, garlic, and onion will now be facing up)

Once in the pan, do not move the chicken- leaving it still helps make the skin nice and crispy :)

Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown

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Flip the thigh over and cook the other side for about 2-3 minutes more

(the herbs and garlic will now be on the under side- helps cooks the flavor into the meat)

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Slice the lemon into thin rounds- cut in half if needed t fit between chicken pieces better

Chop a hefty handful’s worth spring or green onion

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Lay the lemons around the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped onion (reserve some for garnish)

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Place the chicken on the center rack of the oven, uncovered

Cook for about 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and has a nicely browned crispy skin

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     Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes

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Sprinkle the remaining onions over the chicken

Optional: serve with rice (or cauliflower rice) and a couple of lemon wedges

That’s it!  Gobble up and enjoy!!

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This is one of the simplest ways to cook chicken, yet is packed with flavor despite its minimal steps. With a bounty of fresh ingredients muddled into a marinade, this dish is light, vibrant, and healthy. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can either mix them in a food processor or simply smash them together in a bowl with a wooden spoon. As with all meats, the flavors will have more depth the longer they marinade.
Author:
Ingredients
  • For chicken…
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • Handful chopped spring onion, to garnish
  • For marinade…
  • ¼ cup chopped spring onion, green and white parts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Finely chop the onion, parsley, and garlic. Add all ingredients, along with lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper, and olive oil, into a mortar or small bowl. (If you are making the version with Dijon and honey, add them in, as well.) Grind the ingredients until a saucy texture has formed- it will be somewhat chunky still.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over dry chicken thighs to season. Lay the thighs on a plate and smother them with the marinade, getting the herbs, garlic, and onion pieces all over the meat and skin. Let it marinade for up to a day, no less than 1 hour (the longer it sits, the more flavor it will have).
  4. To cook chicken, preheat oven, and allow chicken to come to room temperature. Remove any large pieces of garlic and herbs off of the skin and slide them to the under side of the thighs (this will help keep the skin crispy). Sprinkle some crushed red pepper over the skin-side of the thighs (the more you add, the more spice it will have).
  5. Add ghee or butter to a large oven-proof skillet (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat. Lay the chicken thighs, skin-side down, into the pan (the excess herbs and garlic will now be on the side facing up). Once they are set, don’t move them- to get crispy skin, they need to sit in place and brown for about 3-5 minutes (time may vary depending on the heat level in the pan). Once skin-side is golden brown, flip the thighs and cook them for about 2-3 more minutes on the other side.
  6. Before placing the pan in the oven, lay slices of fresh lemon and half of the chopped green onion between chicken pieces. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven, uncovered. Bake the chicken for about 25 minutes, until completely cooked through.
  7. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining chopped green onions over the thighs. Optional, serve with rice and fresh lemon wedges. Enjoy!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!

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