Chicken with Lemon Pepper Mexican Oregano Sauce

Uncle Smokey here with an indoors recipe – because it is too hot out at dinnertime to use the grill. I use fresh and dried herbs plus lemon harvested from my own acre, but you can use store bought.

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Peppergrass is one of those foraged plants that grow as a “weed” in the cool season. Savorist Jacqueline did a YouTube video about Foraging Peppergrass – here.

Another “foraged” plant is the shrubby Mexican oregano (Aloyisa wrightii) that I planted in my landscape. I like to use the leaves either fresh or dried. The flavor is perfect for this dish. It is a sweeter flavor than European oregano, and if it is fresh be careful not to use too much. You can also buy it in some of the area supermarkets that specialize in Mexican foods.

savor-chicken-one pot

You will simmer this chicken for a while – so a roaster chicken from the store or even a rooster culled from the flock is fine to use, no need for a super tender cut.

Set Up

You will need a 12 or 14 inch cast iron skillet, or maybe a 10 inch dutch skillet than can hold all the ingredients as you start. It will reduce so don’t worry about overflow. In fact you will reduce the ingredients for a tasty sauce.
The sauce you will create is great as a kind of gravy if you serve this chicken with quinnoa, amaranth, or rice.

Chicken with Lemon Pepper Mexican Oregano Sauce

3 pounds chicken, quartered, or just thighs, or drumsticks, or breasts
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 /4 cup chopper garlic chives or 4 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
4 - 3 inch sprigs of Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Mexican oregano (also!)
2 – 3 inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon peppergrass pods – or 8 sprigs of peppergrass
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried lemon peel
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 /2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1 /2 cup chicken broth
1 /4 cup lemon juice

On medium heat, in up to 2 tablespoons cooking oil, gently sautee the onion, add garlic chives, tomatoes, Mexican oregano sprigs (but not the chopped), rosemary, bay, 1 teaspoons peppergrass pods.

Once onions sauteed, pour the wine and broth over everything and let it heat up.

savor-chicken-one pot

Once simmering, push the current ingredients to the edges of the pan, clearing the center. Add the chicken to the center of the pan. If your chicken has the bones in, be sure meat is in contact with the pan so it cooks well.

Cover the pot and simmer until the chicken is well cooked and the thickest part of the chicken (the thighs) reaches 175°F. This is roughly 30 to 40 minutes.

savor-chicken-one pot
Bones take a long time to get warm and the meat around them may stay raw if you are not patient enough.

Ready to Reduce

Using tongs, transfer the done chicken to a platter and cover to keep warm (tent with foil if you wish).

Remove and discard the larger bits of herb sprigs and bay leaves.

Bring the contents of the skillet to a gentle boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until this sauce is less soupy and more like gravy. This is called “reduced.” How to know when it gets there?  A spoon drawn through the mixture leaves a trail or “trace.”  It takes 5 to 7 minutes, or you can “cheat” and add starch to thicken it.

Remove pan from heat, stir in the finely chopped oregano and lemon juice. Optionally season to taste with extra salt and pepper. Serve sauce in a gravy boat if you have one – or a measuring cup with a pour spout.

This dish is really tasty fine warmed in the microwave the next day, So I generally store any leftovers in lunch-sized microwavable plastic containers that I take to my “day-job” with me.

Thanks for Reading
Uncle Smokey

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