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Volume 13

Dinner This Week: Lemony Roast Chicken

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Skillet-Roasted Chicken, Cheesy Nachos, and Vegetable Curry for dinner in an hour or less.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce and Sautéed Peas

Inspired by the lemon chicken served at Rao’s restaurant in New York, our Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce starts with chicken parts that we brown in a skillet and then braise in a lemon-juice-and-chicken-broth-based sauce. A mere 1/4 cup of lemon juice gives the sauce just the right degree of brightness, and a touch of lemon zest adds more citrus flavor without extra acidity. Sautéed Peas start with frozen peas, which we often find to be sweeter and fresher tasting than fresh peas. We enliven the peas with ¼ cup of minced mint.

Printable Shopping ListsSkillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce and Sautéed Peas

Equipment Review The Best Digital Instant-Read Thermometers of 2021

We've recommended a Thermapen for more than a decade, but there's new competition. Is it still the best digital food thermometer?

Dinner 2: Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef and Breaded Chicken Fingers

Here's a Superbowl-ready pairing that can be on the coffee table in less than an hour. To ensure that the tortilla chips in our Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef are cheesy and spicy, we layer them with a full pound of shredded cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeños. In addition to quick homemade salsa and guacamole, we top the nachos with a quick-to-make spiced ground beef mixture to make them more substantial. For from-scratch Breaded Chicken Fingers, we use 6-ounce breasts and cut them on the diagonal into ¾-inch strips to yield the most consistently sized pieces. Japanese panko bread crumbs generate a crust with a toasty, wheaty flavor and shatteringly crisp texture.

Printable Shopping ListsCheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef and Breaded Chicken Fingers

Equipment Review Broiler-Safe 13 by 9-Inch Baking Dishes

Since our favorite 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish can’t go under the broiler, we looked for one that could.

Dinner 3: Indian-Style Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf

Toasting store-bought curry powder in a skillet for our Indian-Style Vegetable Curry turns it into a flavor powerhouse. In addition to the curry powder, a few pinches of garam masala add even more spice flavor. To build the rest of our flavor base, we start with a generous amount of golden sautéed onions plus potent aromatics like garlic, ginger, and fresh chiles. For Basmati Rice Pilaf with light, fluffy, aromatic grains, we first rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Then we sizzle whole spices in oil before toasting the rice itself. A final step of steaming ensures a dry, fluffy texture.

Printable Shopping ListsIndian-Style Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.