Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and peppers), is a recipe handed down from generation to generation typical of La Cucina Italiana. Rustic, vibrant flavors meet succulent roasted chicken. Perfect for that family-style meal, and oh so finger licking good!
Song of the day: Everyday Is A Winding Road, by Sheryl Crow.
Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with olives and pepper), a dish marinated in the morning in spices, herbs, lemon juice, and garlic, sitting in all that seasoning, creating layers upon layers of flavor and a most succulent, moist, tender chicken that you have ever had.
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]
In my younger years, I never imagined being reunited with my Italian roots, but as destiny had it, I was to meet the woman of my dreams and my life would change forever. Nicoletta came into my life and with that a winding road back to my roots. She brought me back to where my parents grew up and I have to tell you it was surreal. I felt like I had been there before. Nicoletta has also taught me Italian which I really enjoy speaking. It is such a beautiful language, and for all this richness I love her and am grateful from the whole of my existence.
The great perk is a road back to the food of our culture and us creating a food blog to share with the world. It has been a long and labor-intensive road and thanks to all who have supported us, especially The Italian Centre Shop, who has given us the opportunity to share traditional and not so traditional recipes using products from their wonderful store. It has been a great year sharing with ITC!
Thinking of a recipe to share with everyone for the Christmas season, we were pulled to an old handwritten recipe book that Nicoletta received from her family. In this book was a recipe for a lemon chicken and one that I heard nothing but rants and raves about and that her grandma made the best pollo al forno, roasted chicken. This passion intrigued me and I have to say I love when I watch a cooking show and they bring in the nonni, seeing that timeline appear the pride, and humor of these people and their life experiences ignites something in my soul that is hard to describe but one that feels heartfelt and comforting. I wish I could have tasted Nicoletta's grandma's roasted chicken but as time would have it I came into her life late, and only shared a short brief time with her which I cherish tremendously.
No crying over spilled milk because we have her memory, and her recipe and we will do it with honor, gratitude, and passion, hoping we will do nonna proud, as well as Nicoletta's family which I have adopted as my own as well. It must have been good as Nicoletta was never a fan of chicken, or any meat, but she said she would try her nonna's because it was so delicious. So with love and memory and without further ado, we give you Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers).
The key to achieving that level of flavor is in the marinade, well not entirely true, because the pollo (chicken) plays a very important role. We always buy organic free-range, grass-fed, and yes there is a difference in taste between a free chicken and one raised in captivity. Our parents and grandparents would only buy pollo whole, which is more budget-friendly, and usually from a local butcher knowing it was fresh. We bought a whole chicken and I cut it into pieces, you can buy the pieces if you want, it will work just as well, and you can choose your favorite pieces. At the Italian Centre Shop, you can find the chicken close to the deli. We only used about half the chicken and the other went in the freezer well packed of course.
So, with a nice organic free-range chicken in hand, we have to do it justice, and the only way to do that is flavor building. This achieved by marinating it overnight, or for the day if you prepare it in the morning. Use a good quality olive oil. When looking for an olive oil look for the D.O.P. on the label, this tells you it is truly from Italy, also look that it is pure extra virgin cold-pressed. This will give you a nice rich earthy oil perfect to enhance and flavor the chicken. In the marinade as well some lovely lemon juice and lemon slices, oregano, always a favorite in our kitchen, and some bay leaves which will give a nice backdrop. We must not forget the garlic, a great ingredient that pairs so well with many a savory dish. So chicken cut up, marinade poured all over it, and our friend time to let all these taste profiles work their magic in the fridge, of course, to tenderize and flavor this Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers) beyond belief.
I love when I take this out of the fridge, and I uncover it. The aroma of the herbs, that brightness and freshness of the lemon, and that ever so enticing scent of garlic has me salivating and it isn't even cooked yet. I say beware when all those lovely ingredients start dancing to the beat of a hot oven, the aroma will have you at the door to the oven with watered mouths, begging it to be finished. Before you put it in the oven though it needs a few extra touches. Some beautifully slivered peppers, a handful of black olives, and yes some more lemon, after all this is Pollo al Limone (Lemon Chicken with Olives and Peppers)!
OMG, this smells so good, and look at all those delicious juices. Don't throw that away we need it to finish the plate. I love all that caramelization that has happened and those lovely peppers so vibrant with color. I am also so intrigued to taste the olives and see what they bring to the table.
I don't know about your grandma's but ours always loved to plate the finished product. Not individually but on a platter. This to me is the epitome of an Italian family-style meal. I think nonna and Nicoletta's family would be proud of us, can't wait to call them and share our experience with them. I hope they share a story or two with us, always love to hear those.
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this recipe, and now I am going in for a taste. A nice bit of chicken, some pepper, and some olives. Wow, this chicken is so tender and juicy. That lemon coming through but not in a sour face sort of way. It is smooth and so slowly introduces itself to your palate. The peppers offer a bit of sweetness to balance things out and then out of nowhere that olive comes in with its aged earthy tones that pair so well with the spice of oregano, and those hints of bay leaves. Look at that nice sheen of the cooking juices, poured all over the top of the dish and those roasted lemon slices, looks so delicious and yes it is so tasty.
It is the Christmas season, it is about giving and receiving, it is about peace and love, and it is about creating wonderful and beautiful memories that we will carry with us throughout our lives. I know mine are with me as I pull them from the memory banks, and the sounds of laughter, kids playing, and that silence with only the clanging of forks and spoons, and people's enjoyment echoing in the background. Even hearing others' stories and memories form thoughts that paint beautiful pictures in my mind that become short films of these wonderful moments. These are the days where anything goes, and like Sheryl Crow says: "Every day is a winding road, get a little bit closer", that is what food is and does, it brings us all a little closer no matter the circumstances.
Wishing everyone the very best of the holiday season!
From our kitchen at Sugarlovespices,
- ½ chicken (about ½ kg-1 pound), cut in pieces
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 large garlic clove, cut into 3 slices
- 3 small bay leaves
- salt and pepper
Ingredients for roasting:
- 2 small red peppers, slivered
- 25 g (1 Tbsp) pitted black olives
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Cut the chicken into pieces and wash. Add to a big bowl and sprinkle lemon juice on top. Dust with oregano, salt and pepper, add garlic and bay leaves, and toss well.
- Cover and let marinate for 12 hours.
- When it's time to cook, preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
- Take the bay leaves out, place the chicken in a rectangular oven safe dish (we used a 9-inch by 14-inch). Add the slivered peppers and the black olives.
- Add few tablespoons of the marinade and 2 tablespoon olive oil. Place the lemon slices on top and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, flipping chicken over at about halfway through the cooking time,
- The last 3-4 minutes, turn chicken over again (skin side up) and broil on low until nice and golden.
- At the moment of serving, place chicken on a serving platter, and pour juices on top and evenly distribute the red peppers, olives, and lemon slices.
The total time includes the 12 hours of the marinade. You can marinate the chicken in the morning and it will be ready to put in the oven when you come back home from work.
You can just buy your favorite chicken pieces instead of buying a whole chicken. Buying a whole chicken is more budget friendly (and you can freeze the other half for later use).
- Prep Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: Italian
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When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.