Perfect Lemon Chicken – Yes, it Tastes of Lemon.

Lemon Chicken (4 of 8)

A good friend in the food industry left me thinking when he described lemon chicken as being “very nice, but it doesn’t taste of lemon”. The irony of the statement was not lost on me. So I set about getting some lemon chicken cooked. This time though, it tastes of lemon, for sure. It tastes of chicken too. So, lemon chicken it is.

As with so many of my recipes, this depends upon top quality meat and a small number of quality ingredients. The ingredient that might prevent some of you trying this is highly concentrated chicken stock. My advice is to make your own and store it in the freezer. Having concentrated stocks makes huge sense. They take up very little freezer space. They last for ages in the frozen state. They help bring ordinary food to gourmet levels. You can not fake good stock. I have beef, pork, lamb, prawn and chicken stock cubes in the freezer. They are essential to good cooking. So, stock up, as it were.

Lemon Chicken

The temperature needs to come up to 74ºC. Hence, the probe.

Ingredients for Lemon Chicken for two

  • 2 high quality, skin on, free range, chicken breasts
  • 1 juicy lemon
  • A few cubes of concentrated chicken stock
  • 1 glass of good quality white wine (something that will stand up to lemon taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 knob of butter

Heat the oven to 190ºC. Heat a cast iron pan on the stove top. Add a very little bit of oil. Season the chicken on both sides.

Lemon Chicken

Don’t be afraid to give it lots. Much of it will season the sauce.

Fry it, skin side up until browned. Turn the chicken and repeat the process. Turn the chicken again. Turn off the heat. Slice the lemon into quarters squeeze the juice over the chicken. Add the wine lemon quarters and stock cubes to the frying pan.

Lemon Chicken

The stock really makes this dish. Make the stock. Make the dish.

Place it in the oven and leave it until the chicken has reached about 70ºC internal temperature. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the chicken. Keep it warm.

Return the pan to the stove and reduce the sauce to a nice consistency. Add the knob of butter and stir. This will add a lustre and depth of flavour to the sauce.

Lemon Chicken

That sauce will shine thanks to the addition of the butter.

Taste it and adjust the seasoning. Carve the chicken and serve it. Both the chicken and the sauce will taste of two things – chicken and lemon. That’s why it’s called Lemon Chicken.

Lemon Chicken

This is pretty elegant stuff. The Macon Lugny ties it all together nicely.

If you serve it with the wine you used to make the sauce, the whole experience will be very harmonious, the wine adding an additional dimension to the dish. Do try this. It’s so easy that anybody with enough skill to stand in front of the cooker and breath will be able to turn out real lemony lemon chicken.

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Latest comments
  • Your chicken looks delicious, but I’m puzzled by your friend’s comment. Was he talking about ready meals or lemon chicken in restaurants? The meat in most ready meals is completely tasteless, because it’s cooked seperate from the sauce. Something to be avoided at all costs!

      • Astonishing! Why do they bother running restaurants?
        Slightly off topic, many years ago, I had chicken in an orange sauce at a restaurant in Cadaqués. It was so good I had to recreate it myself the next week. As above, it was all down to good, simple ingredients.

          • How ridiculous! If you can’t taste lemon, it’s not lemon chicken.

  • What a fabulous purist method this is! Has to be tried soonest as my tried and true recipes for this all add variations of shallots, garlic and rosemary in addition to the obvious citrus and wine. And shall make a brand-new batch of chicken cubes for the freezer and methinks supermarket chicken just will not do for this: not even their organic variety . . .

  • Well this looks nothing like the good ole ‘old school’ Chinese restaurant lemon chicken with its gelatinous gluggy not lemony lemon tasting sauce. Love your final plated lemony chicken photo, very pretty and fresh.

  • How you managed to make chicken breast look so good I’ll never know! I’ve only made stock twice in my life and the kitchen smelled of it for days. Maybe I’ll have to suck it up and try again.

  • I only aspire to the skill to breathe, let alone stand in front of the stove, but this recipe even I could manage 🙂 (OK, I lied, except the bit about trying the recipe! I can, and will try this, just as soon as I’ve made the chicken stock)

      • I reckon I need to make a big batch of stock specially to freeze. Generally I make a batch a week for the Husband’s soup that he takes to work, but he may have to content himself with pumpkin instead of chicken. It’s the concentration that’s the key, isn’t it?

          • Thanks, I’ll remember the proportions.

  • I’m a big chicken and lemon fan. Love your version! 🙂

  • Beautiful. The butter is a must – glad to see it in there!

  • Absolutely gorgeous lemon chicken! And it’s so easy, too, it would be a shame if the peoples of the world don’t make themselves and easy lemon chicken here and again.

      • A lemon chicken taco, now that’s a thought. I’m fearing it wouldn’t go over so well, though. 😉

  • I’m licking my lips just reading this, great recipe Conor!

  • Hi Conor, great post. I would pull the chicken at an internal temperature of 60 degrees though! Much more juicy.

  • Sounds delicious!

      • Work sometimes gets in the way of life. Glad all ok your end. We’re off to Co Cork soon … near Bandon … will wave. 🙂

          • That’s a lovely offer and one that’shard to turn down! I’d very much like to meet up with you some time, but I’m afraid we aren’t there for long enough to travel very widely. One of these days though I mean to come back to Dublin for a visit and will definitely look you up. All the best, Linda xxx

          • Me too. Thanks. xxx

  • Very nice. “[T]op quality meat and a small number of quality ingredients.” That really is the recipe for success of most any dish, isn’t it?

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