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Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers

I’m taking a little mid-week break from talking about Thanksgiving, but check out my Thanksgiving Recipes if you’re looking for ideas of what to cook. Also, if you’re a South Beach fan you’ll want to be sure you don’t miss out on a chance to win a free copy of the new South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook. This is a great book, and I have two of them, so I’m giving one away.

The recipe I’m sharing here is from another new cookbook that’s rapidly becoming one of my favorites. The Bon Appetit Cookbook is loaded with over 700 pages of recipes of every kind, and I’ve already marked about 25 recipes to try. It’s a great all-purpose resource cookbook that I can tell I will use for a long time to come.

One of the things about this recipe that intrigued me was the process of roasting the lemons, then using the roasted lemon pieces in a sauce. The lemons are eaten, skin and all, probably a standby for Moroccan preserved lemons, which I’ve never been able to find in Salt Lake. I loved the combination of roasted lemons, capers, and green olives here, but if you didn’t want to roast the lemons, I think this dish would also very good good, and much quicker to make, with just the capers and green olives.

Capers are the unopened buds of a flower called Capparis Spinosa, and they can vary in size from very small to about the size of a green pea. They are most commonly pickled in oil, brine, or vinegar, and are commonly rinsed before using. Capers grow in the Mediterranean, and are sometimes used in Greece to make a medicinal tea. A famous dish using capers is Chicken or Veal Picatta, which is most likely the inspiration for this recipe.

Here are some of the steps for making this dish, which I absolutely raved about for days after I made it. Complete recipe after the photos.

Cut 2 lemons into 12 thin slices, then brush with olive oil and roast about 25 minutes. Next time I’d use my mandoline to get the lemon slices a bit thinner.

Dredge chicken pieces very lightly in flour. I used 100% whole wheat pastry flour to make this South Beach friendly.

Brown the chicken pieces very well over high heat, about 3-5 minutes per side. Don’t rush this step.

When chicken is browned, next it’s simmered in chicken stock with the green olives and capers added. After about 5 minutes you add a bit of butter, parsley, and the lemon slices to finish the sauce.

Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers
(4 servings, recipe from The Bon Appetit Cookbook with slight adaptations by Kalyn)

12 thin lemon slices, cut from 2 lemons
olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 1/2 cup flour (use 100% whole wheat flour for South Beach)
2 tsp. poultry seasoning (I use Penzeys)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2-3 T olive oil
1/2 cup sliced pitted green olives (recipe called for Sicilian olives, but all I had were plain supermarket green olives)
2 T drained capers, rinsed
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock or canned chicken broth (be sure it’s low sodium or the finished dish will be too salty from the olives and capers)
2 T butter, cut into small pieces (recipe called for 4 T, but 2 T was plenty for me)
3 T chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 325 F. Cut two lemons into thin slices (I recommend using a mandoline if you have one.) Brush lemon slices lightly with olive oil and arrange on baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Roast until lemons are slightly dry and barely beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. (I cut the lemons in fourths before adding them to the sauce, but the recipe didn’t specify this. I thought it made them a little easier to eat.)

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Combine flour and poultry seasoning and add desired amount of black pepper. Lightly coat chicken with flour. Heat oil in heavy pan just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Add olives and capers and pour in chicken stock. Bring to boil, scraping off any browned bits from bottom of pan. Boil until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. 

Add butter, roasted lemon slices, and 2 T of the chopped parsley. Simmer until butter is melted and chicken is cooked through, 2-3 minutes more. Transfer chicken to serving platter, pour sauce over, and sprinkle remaining 1 T parsley. Serve hot.<

Butter is not really recommended on the South Beach Diet, but butter creates great flavor, and with the significantly reduced amount of butter I used, I think this would be okay for phase 2 or 3. This would be great with Georgette’s Greek Zucchini and Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #59, being hosted this week by the very talented Nandita of Saffron Trail. If you want to participate this week, send the e-mail with your permalink to saffrontrail AT gmail DOT com. Be sure to include a link to Nandita and the words Weekend Herb Blogging.

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19 comments on “Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers”

  1. I always have preserved lemons in my fridge, but these roasted lemons sounds like a great idea, too. They’d be a great stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey.

  2. Kalyn,
    Roasted lemons? That’s an intriguing twist.

  3. I like this idea too.
    Hey, but Kalyn. You can make your own preserved lemons! Easy-peasy.

  4. Hi Lydia, the roasted lemons tasted great.

    Kevin I thought so. That’s what attracted me to the recipe. (Ok, that and the butter!)

    Cookiecrumb, I know everyone says they are easy to make, but I’m always so busy I don’t seem to get to it. Plus I’ve never had them so I don’t know if I could tell when they’re ready. I saw some oneline that I think I’ll order to see what they are like.

  5. This looks really excellent.

  6. That’s a fantastic photo at the top of your post Kalyn. I’ve made this recipe before and can attest to is delicious factor! I left out the lemons and the flour and the dish still came out great. Now that you’ve shown us how easy it is to roast lemons, I’ll have to try the recipe again!

  7. I’ve got to try this soon, but have other weekend plans. Maybe I can sneak it in next weekend, after the ham. I’m also intrigued with the roasted lemons.

    My job really interferes with cooking and eating.

  8. Tanna, at the risk of seeming less than humble, it was fantastic.

    Christine, I considered not using the flour too, but since I had the 100% ww pastry flour I used a little for better browning.

    Mimi, LOL! I know just what you mean.

  9. Kalyn,

    This recipe sounds so wonderful! 🙂 I love anything with chicken and lemon! 😛

  10. I just checked out this cookbook at the library and I love it!

  11. I love all of that–the lemons, capers, olives. It makes my mouth water. Roasted lemons or preserved lemons give a wonderful flavor to dishes, don’t they? I’m going to make this recipe and I know it’s going to be a favorite.

  12. Love the aromatic flavor of roasted lemons. This is one recipe I will have to try. Up into my del.icio.us

    Thanks Kalyn.

  13. White_poplar, I love lemon too.

    Maria, you can borrow my book any time too.

    Sher and Meeta, hope you both like it. I loved it. Let me know if you try any experiments with the recipe!

  14. hi kalyn, georgeous pic and new banner! i love cooked green olives so much too, this sounds and looks wonderful. roasted lemons, mmm ! i’m a huge champion for the lemon:)

  15. Wow, that sounds awesome! On the pile it goes.

  16. Kalyn, that looks out of this world. Who could go wrong with lemon, olive, and caper? My goodness! I have got to try this one.

  17. What a marvelous idea – roasting the lemons! I’ve never used preserved lemons…no reason, just haven’t. I’m inspired by this though, may have to try it tonight.

  18. Stunning photos to accompany a wonderful looking dish…did anyone say “trip to Greece”? And another reason the Bon Appetit book is on my wish list.

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. I’ve made this dish many times and am always amazed by how great it turns out despite its simplicity.

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