One of the easiest things for me to cook when I feel as if I’m racing against time is chicken. I know I’m not alone on this; when people ask me for recipes, 99 percent of the time it’s all about cakes or chicken. My favourite chocolate cake recipe? Done. An easy chicken recipe? You’re sorted. And here’s another one.
I don’t normally go for chicken breasts, because I feel edgy cooking them. I prefer something on the bone, like chicken legs. The meat nearest the bones is always more tender and juicier, and almost never goes dry, no matter how long you cook it for. It also reminds me of my mum’s Sunday lunches, and my obsession with drumsticks. They would fall off the bone, and at the end of the meal I would declare that they were the best thing I’ve ever had. (Excluding chocolate and marshmallows, of course.)
With this recipe I choose to take the easiest route possible. A step which I sometimes include, and which will make your life a little simpler, is to flatten each breast at the thickest part, but to be honest I rarely bother. I just keep the chicken in the marinade for longer to cut out any dryness during grilling.
I use our trusty cast iron pan for this, but feel free to use a regular non-stick pan if you have that to hand. You could even forget the grill here and use the oven or a shallow non-stick frying pan, if that’s what you prefer. Keep in mind that the taste will vary. Good luck.
- 2 chicken breasts, left whole, preferably from a large bird
- 4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
- regular olive oil
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- za’atar, or dried thyme
On a clean board cut a few slits with a knife, just on the surface of the chicken breasts and insert the garlic slices in between each slit.
Place the chicken in a clean glass or stainless steel bowl and pour in a few generous glugs of regular olive oil, a pinch of salt, a generous amount of pepper, the zest and juice of a lemon, and around two teaspoons of za’atar or dried thyme.
Cover in cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The marinade will help the chicken maintain moisture.
Heat up a grill pan. Wait a few minutes until it gets really hot. Carefully place the chicken breasts onto the pan. Don’t worry if the garlic pieces fall away while cooking.
Chicken breasts usually take a longer time to cook completely on the grill. Give them around 10 minutes on each side but they will be cooked when they become firm and the juices run clear.
What I always do is to slice them just enough to see the thickest part. Chicken should always be cooked through.
Serve with salad or vegetables.
(Always remember to wash your hands properly immediately after handling raw chicken. Clean all surfaces that were in contact with it with warm water and soap and/or disinfectant.)
One year ago: The Little Coffee Cups
Two years ago: Macro
Three years ago: Lentil Soup
Four years ago: Herby Chicken