This Chicken Dish Makes Its Own Sauce as It Cooks — and It Couldn’t Be Easier

Talk about a two-for-one!

December 06, 2019
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Ina Garten's Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken, as seen on Food Network's Barefoot Contessa.

Photo by: Matt Ball

Matt Ball

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Ina has been my go-to for recipes for a very long time. The first season of Barefoot Contessa aired right after I graduated from college. I was living on my own and, because I enjoyed cooking so much, I was always having friends over for dinner or desserts. (Can you guess where I got my recipes?!)

Here I am 14 years later — formal pastry training under my belt and 10 years into a career in food — still relying on her Coq Au Vin whenever I have a dinner party, still baking up batches of her spicy Ginger Cookies on Christmas Eve.

The one thing that never fails to impress me about Ina’s recipes is how effortlessly impressive they are. She uses approachable ingredients and simple techniques — yet everything she makes feels special. I watched her on-demand Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken class on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app recently and was reminded of this again. With little more than citrus, herbs, wine and a cast-iron skillet, Ina transforms a whole chicken into a gorgeous, rustic dinner for four — complete with a flavorful pan sauce to serve on top.

The genius of this particular dish is that the sauce comes together as the chicken cooks. The secret is a layer of sliced onion, garlic and lemon. Ina lays them down in her cast-iron skillet before adding the chicken — and they lift the bird off the bottom of the pan, allowing the drippings to collect underneath and simmer with the wine to create a savory sauce.

Ina says, “What’s amazing about this, when the chicken cooks on top...the juice and the white wine that I’m going to put in...they all cook together and you can eat the whole lemon, rind and all. It’s so good.”

That’s right, no stirring or whisking. No immersion blender or fancy gadgets needed for this sauce. All you have to do is put some ingredients into a cast-iron skillet and wait. (And wonder why you haven’t been cooking chicken this way all along!)

Ina shares so many other tips in this class — sign up for the all-new Food Network Kitchen app and you’ll be able to access them all. You can even cook along with Ina as you watch one of her on-demand classes!

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