I see you over there with your crispy golden brown skin and the bright, lemony sauce and a side salad + hunk of hot crusty bread for dipping, and to be honest, not much else because you don’t need much else when the classic, simple ingredients and the basic cooking method are this utterly perfect.
This is simple, rustic, and extremely bright and lemony. This is for those of us who want our lemon chicken to actually taste like LEMONSSSS.
What we’re doing here is simple: we’re using simple, delicious, fresh ingredients (think chicken thighs, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and basically that’s it) with a high quality piece of beautiful, American-made, #liveauthentic, rustic cookware called a CAST IRON SKILLET. And now for our next trick, using these ingredients and tools, we shall pull a faux-fancy, real food, simple and beautiful chicken dinner out of nowhere.
When we got married, long before the idea for this blog ever existed, my in-laws gave us a Lodge Cast Iron skillet. Because they knew: Lodge is kind of (absolutely) the gold standard when it comes to high quality cast iron. Fun fact – Lodge is the ONLY company that manufactures a full line of cast iron in the United States of America, and they’ve been doing their cast iron thing in a tiny town in Tennessee for over 100 years. My in-laws almost always cook with cast iron, so naturally they wanted to pass on the love to their daughter in law who loves to cook.
One small thing about the cast iron tho I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING. My sweet little Lodge skillet sat in the back of my cookware cabinet for a long while (would you be mad if I said years?) before I pulled it out when we moved and was like, hm, wait a second. This looks like it might be AMAZING.
So I started using it at which point I became completely obsessed. Three years later and I literally feel like my cast iron skillet is a part of our family. File under Things Your Food Blogger Friend Says.
As an added motivation, over the last year or so, I’ve gone on a quest to really embrace “clean living”, like, whatever that means, right? Eye roll.
For me, it just means simple swaps for a better home environment. Not perfect, but better. For example -> Getting rid of plastic food storage containers and replacing them with glass. Buying natural cleaning products without added chemicals and fragrances. Not burning candles that smell like 100 bottles of perfume broke on the hardwood floor of the living room. And slowly but surely trading out our flaking non-stick pans higher quality stainless steel and cast iron.
Remember back when I wrote that post about how much I loved my Lodge Dutch Oven? That was really my first true foray into cast iron. If you’re not sure in terms of maintenance and care and how to cook with a cast iron and all that, the Dutch Oven is an amazing place to start. It’s an enamel coated cast iron which gives you the benefits of cast iron (even cooking, oven-to-stovetop flexibility, heavy quality) without needing to care for it in any special way. Just wash and dry as you would with any pan.
Then for your basic standard cast iron skillet, when you’re ready (trust me – you’re ready), I highly recommend the Lodge 12-inch Round Frying Pan. I use it as often as I can – it has basically become a fixture that sits on top of my stove because I just never put it away. It creates a perfect even heat, it can go from the stovetop to the oven (to the grill – yes, we live boldly here), and it maintains a natural nonstick texture that is just divine.
Lots of you are maybe nervous about the care and maintenance involved (I’m actually just speaking to myself 5 years ago here), but I’m here to tell you that it is nothing. Consider me your lazy girl ambassador. I have zero tolerance for things that are unnecessarily difficult, and this passes my very strict test for ease of use and care. Here’s how I wash mine after each use:
Rinse and dry.
Rub a little oil on it.
Also, pro-tip from my friend Liz that I’m also doing these days: put it back on the heat for a while to really get hot-dry so the pan absorbs the oil. Just if you wanna be an overachiever.
Three cheers for team cast iron!
Now let’s get a simple honey lemon chicken dinner on the table for you and your family. Toss up a green salad and bust out a loaf of bread and you are a domestic boss right now.
Honey Lemon Chicken – so easy to make with just honey, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chicken. Perfect for easy entertaining!
1 lb. chicken thighs (4 pieces)
1/2 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon honey
Turn the oven to the broil setting (about 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit). Place the chicken skin-side down in a well seasoned cast iron skillet (we use LODGE all the way baby!). Broil for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken over so the skin is facing up – broil for another 15 minutes.
Make the sauce by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and oregano together.
Dip each chicken piece in the sauce (lazy girl pro-tip – you can also just pour or brush a little bit of the sauce over the chicken) and return to the hot oven for a few minutes. The exterior of the chicken should get crispy and golden brown.
When the chicken is done, set aside. Pour out the drippings from the pan (reserve them!), wipe out any large residual chicken bits, and put the cast iron back on a warm burner. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved chicken drippings and the remaining sauce + honey. Simmer for just a few minutes until the sauce is bubbly and hot. Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread for soaking up the very lemony sauce!
If you have a convection oven, the convection broil setting will bake the chicken much faster – more like 15-20 minutes total. The lemon sauce can start to get a little weird (like overly browned) if you cook it for too long, so just be gentle with it.