I made this recipe for the first time shortly after acquiring The Silver Palate Cookbook in April 1984. Both of my boys (then 9 and 12) loved this chicken, maybe for the lemon but mostly, I suspect, for the brown sugar. Over the years, my taste has changed and I’ve vastly decreased the amount of sugar—but there is still a little hint of sweet that is balanced nicely with the sourness of the zest and juice.
9 chicken thighs, skin and extra fat removed
Lemon zest from 4 lemons, see photos if you need them
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoky sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1. Combine the thighs and lemon juice in a bowl just large enough to hold them. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally. A shorter time is fine too.
2. Drain the chicken thoroughly and pat dry, setting aside the marinade. Fill a plastic bag with flour, salt, paprika and pepper and shake well to mix. Put two pieces of chicken into the bag at a time and shake, coating completely.
3. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying plan until hot and fry the thighs, until well browned. This will take about 10 minutes per batch.
5. Arrange the browned chicken in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan. Sprinkle them evenly with lemon zest and brown sugar. Mix together the chicken stock, leftover marinade, and lemon extract and pour around the thighs.
6. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes or until tender.
Adapted from Julee Ross and Sheila Lukins’ The Silver Palate Cookbook