Recipe: Limoncello Chicken

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Our theme for the month of September is Italian food.

I thought about how to put an interesting slant on the month, and I figured we could make it more interesting if we go Pasta free.  Just for the challenge.  Furthermore, we always think of Italy as a sun soaked country where they live on olives, seafood and tomatoes.  A lot of the time this is true, but we forget that a lot of Italy is cold, mountainous country.  The Dolomites and the Alps have inspired some of Italy's most challenging recipes, using whatever comes to hand.  A lot of their recipes include freshly caught rabbits, free range boar, and forage truffles.

Also we are going for nice, warm comfort food since summer seems to have turned up it's toes for the year.  That's all folks, please exit through the gift shop.  And someone turn the heating up please?

Right, to business.  Here is your shopping list:

For the sauce:

  • Chicken stock, one pint.  Today I am using the jellied kind.
  • The juice of two large, whole lemons
  • Limoncello Liquor (about 50 ml)
  • Star anise
  • Cornflour

For the chicken thighs you need, well, chicken thighs

  • Coriander
  • Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • One sprig of Rosemary

For the vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Honey
  • Butter

For the vegetables, we are going with cubed and fried potatoes, which the Italians love, and steamed broccoli.  The other veg is honey batons of carrots.  Not very Italian, but there you go.

OK, let's start with one medium-sized saucepan.  Put it on the heat and add the stock.  Heat gently and add the juice of two large lemons.  Stir it in and add the limoncello and one star anise.  Stir in well.  Allow it to simmer but not boil for five minutes.  Then to thicken it up, make a paste of cornflour and water in a small jug. Add about 25ml just enough to thicken it to a glaze.

Set up your chicken thighs in a baking tray, coated with metal foil.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, Coriander and Oregano.  Pour a little of the lemon sauce over the chicken and use a pastry brush to coat the skin completely.  Place it in the oven at 180 C and bake for 35-40 minutes.  If you like, add a sprig of Rosemary.  Keep the rest of the sauce warm.

While they are baking, chop your potatoes into small cubes and deep fry.  Or you can oven bake them in a baking tray with hot lard and Rosemary.

For the vegetables you steam the broccoli.  Steaming it for four minutes.  It is so much better than boiled, as it keeps its colour and a little crispness.

For the carrots, heat a small pan of water.  Add a small knob of butter.  Bring to the boil and allow to simmer. Add four tablespoons of honey and allow it to melt into the water.  Peel and chop your carrots into batons and add them to the water.  Cook them until they are soft and sweetened.

Once the chicken is cooked, plate it up, dry the potatoes with kitchen roll.  Drain the carrots and add them to the plate and finally add the broccoli, with butter if you like.

Serve and enjoy.

Buon Appetito!

By chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.