Nigel Slater’s recipe for pan-fried chicken with thyme and lemon

Nigel Slater

A succulent, juicy, herby take on a comforting classic

Ask the butcher to bone 4 chicken legs for you. (Should you prefer to do it yourself, see my note below, it may help.)

Peel and very finely slice 3 cloves of garlic. Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a wide sauté pan (I use one 24cm in diameter), add the garlic and place the chicken legs, skin side down, on top. Scatter the surface with 8 sprigs of thyme and season with salt and black pepper. Place a piece of baking parchment on top, then add a heavy weight (another pan will suffice) on top of the paper and leave to cook, over a moderate heat.

Check the chicken’s progress after 15 minutes or so; the underside should be golden. Turn the chicken over, so the skin is uppermost, replace the paper and weight and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes.

Peel a lemon using a very sharp knife and cut into thin slices. Chop 1 tbsp of thyme leaves then set aside. Check the meat for tenderness and remove from the heat to briefly rest. Return the pan to the hob, turn up the heat and let the juices reduce to a few tablespoons, then pour in 100ml of white vermouth or white wine (or even a dry sherry if you have) then let it bubble for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve any delicious goo from the pan with a wooden spoon.

Serve the chicken with thyme and lemon, pouring over the juices as you go then sprinkle with flakes of sea salt. Enough for 2.

To bone the chicken legs, place the meat on a chopping board with the skin side down, then make two long incisions along the length of the bones. Holding the leg by the bone, carefully cut the flesh from the bones without cutting through the skin, so you finish with a flat piece of boneless meat.

Courtesy: theguardian