We found inspiration for this super flavorful Greek chicken at Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama, where the menu reflects the chef’s Greek heritage and Alabama upbringing. The chicken there is tender and juicy, marinated and roasted to perfection and flavored with tons of herbs and lemon. To re-create this simple yet complex-tasting dish for the home cook, we first tested our way to the perfect marinade: a blend of olive oil, fresh and dried herbs and spices, and lemon. To make sure the marinade penetrated past the surface of the chicken, we cut ½-inch-deep slashes in each piece. To achieve the lovely browning we remembered from the chicken at Johnny’s, we roasted our chicken at a relatively hot 425 degrees and gave it a blast of heat from the broiler at the end of cooking.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove six strips of zest from the lemon. If you have a rasp-style grater and prefer to use it to zest the lemon, you will need about 1 tablespoon of zest. Make sure to use kosher salt here; we developed this recipe using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 (3-inch) strips lemon zest, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon juice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (2 split breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 2 wings, wingtips discarded)
1. Combine oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, salt, oregano, coriander, pepper flakes, and pepper in large bowl. Cut three ½-inch-deep slits in skin side of each chicken breast, two ½-inch-deep slits in skin side of each thigh, and two ½-inch-deep slits in each drumstick; leave wings whole. Transfer chicken to bowl with marinade and turn to thoroughly coat, making sure marinade gets into slits. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken, skin side up, in 12-inch ovensafe skillet. Using rubber spatula, scrape any remaining marinade from bowl over chicken. Roast until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from oven and spoon pan juices over top of chicken to wet skin. Heat broiler. Broil chicken until skin is lightly browned, about three minutes, rotating skillet as necessary for even browning. Let chicken rest in skillet for 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to shallow platter. Stir lemon juice into pan juices, then spoon over chicken. Serve.