Lemon Garlic chicken...Cuban Style

Lemon Garlic Chicken…Cuban Style

This is the best lemon chicken ever, discovered at the Versailles Restaurants in LA and later in Little Cuba in Miami where it won my heart all over again. Slathered with a lemon garlic marinade and roasted with more garlic and juicy lemon slices. Also wonderful grilled if you’re firing up the BBQ!  Always… with silky black beans and rice…simple perfection! But don’t stop there, add a mixed green salad with vine ripe tomatoes, red onions, and orange sherry vinaigrette and you’ve got a Cuban supper on the table that everyone will LOVE and be begging for more!

Serves 4

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup of Spanish extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro (or fresh rosemary)
  • a pinch of sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a jar and give it a good hard shake until emulsified.

Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken (skin on) split  in half (backbone removed) or 4 legs and thighs, attached (skin on)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 8 thinly sliced rounds of fresh lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest threads (zest the lemon before slicing the rounds)  
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Spanish paprika to finish

Place the chicken in a baking dish or roasting pan in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage each piece with your hands. Cover with kitchen film and refrigerate for several hours, turning the chicken once as it marinates. Remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before roasting (or grilling)

For Roasting:   Preheat the oven to 375F/190C

Turn the chicken several times to coat evenly with the marinade. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, and scatter the sliced garlic over the top. Place the lemon rounds evenly over the chicken pieces and place several fresh rosemary sprigs  between and around the chicken. Top all with some freshly ground black pepper and place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken with the marinade and return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pricked with a thin skewer. The chicken should be a hearty golden brown. If it is not brown enough move it under the broiler and broil for a few minutes until evenly browned to your liking.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Skim off excess fat from the the marinade and spoon marinade over the chicken.   Sprinkle with Spanish paprika and  serve.

For Grilling:  Preheat the grill until charcoal is glowing red.   Preheat oven to 375F/190C

With tongs remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off excess marinade and place on the grill skin side down and grill for 6-8 minutes. Turn the chicken and grill another 6-8 minutes until well browned on both sides.

Place the grilled chicken back into the marinade, skin side up and baste with the marinade.  Add the garlic , lemon rounds, lemon zest, and rosemary and finish the cooking in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Skim off excess fat from the marinade and spoon marinade over the chicken. Sprinkle with Spanish paprika before serving.

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