Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce
Why This Recipe Works
Inspired by the lemon chicken served at Rao’s restaurant in New York, our version translates the dish from the restaurant kitchen to the home kitchen—and makes a few improvements at the same time. We substituted easy-to-find chicken parts that don’t require butchering for the small whole chickens used at the restaurant. Because home broilers are not as powerful as restaurant broilers, we browned the skin in a skillet and then braised the chicken pieces in the pan with a lemon-juice-and-chicken-broth-based sauce; the skin was above the liquid, so it continued to brown and crisp while in the oven. We browned the dark-meat pieces on both sides so that they would finish cooking at the same time as the breasts, eliminating the need to remove the chicken from the pan in batches. A mere 1/4 cup of lemon juice in the sauce gave it just the right degree of brightness, and adding lemon zest gave us more lemon flavor without adding acidity. Adding flour to the braising liquid ensured that our sauce had the perfect consistency with no need to reduce it further on the stovetop once the chicken was done. Simply rewhisking the sauce brought it together before we garnished it with a fresh herb-zest mixture.