Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lemon Chicken and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

When life gives you lemons make Rao's Lemon Chicken. Ba dum bum.

Rao's Lemon Chicken
Who, or what, is Rao you ask? Only one of the very best, old-school Italian restaurants in New York City. It was started by Charles Rao in 1896 in East Harlem and to this day is one of the hardest restaurants in all of NYC to get into. It's still run by family members in the exact same spot. They only have 10 tables and a year long waiting list. Crazy. The chances of any of us getting to taste their food their is slim to none. Unless of course you're with Martha Stewart. This woman has clout. She gets in no problem.

Rao's in East Harlem
I can't remember now if I saw Vincent Rao or his nephew Ron on the Martha Stewart show. All I know is that their passion for Italian food had me hooked and I had to have the recipe. Of course there wasn't a Martha website back then. I got the recipe the old fashioned way by watching her show and writing it all down.

Lemon Chicken 
(Adapted from Rao's recipe.)

1/2 cup of olive oil
2 lemons (net 4oz of lemon juice)
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1/2 T. white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1/2 t. dried oregano (I used fresh oregano)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 fryer chicken cut up, with skin on (or whatever pieces of chicken you like)

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450º

1. Cut up the chicken. Or buy a chicken already butchered. You can save a ton doing it yourself. I got my chicken on sale for $4. You can learn how to butcher a chicken on YouTube. Really. You can.
2. Season the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Lay pieces on the sheet skin side down. Bake 15 minutes.
4. Turn pieces over and bake another 15 minutes, or until done.
5. Remove from oven, let cool slightly. Cut large pieces in half or thirds.

Turn oven to broil.

6. Pour the marinade over the chicken, skin side down. Broil 2 minutes.
7. Flip chicken pieces and broil one more minute.
8. Place chicken in large serving bowl. Pour sauce all over chicken.

You can easily double this recipe for a crowd.

**Don't throw away the chicken carcass. You will need it to make stock for Friday's recipe - Super yummy and really easy Wonton Noodle Soup.

On sale at Safeway for 79 cents a lb. $4 dollar chicken.

Not bad, eh?
Love my little Braun juicer.
Not a drop left.

Hot out of the oven after getting broiled. Mmmm, mmmm,mmmm
Ready to serve.
Serve the chicken with Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and some crusty bread.

Grilled Asparagus
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes. Don't they look DIVINE!
Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
(from Ina Baumgarten)

3 pounds red new potatoes, unpeeled (Idaho potatoes work fine too.)
1 T. kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
1 1/2 cups half and half (or whatever milk you have)
1 stick unsalted unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/2 t. ground black pepper

1. Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a pan and and cover with cold water.
2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for 25 to 35 minutes, until completely tender. Drain. Put the potatoes into the bowl of an electric mixer.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half (or milk) and butter.
4. Mix the potatoes for a few seconds on low speed, to break them up. Slowly add 3/4 of the hot cream and butter to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed.
5. Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, the remaining salt, and pepper; taste for seasoning. If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.
6. Place the potatoes in an oven proof dish, top with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and broil until tops are golden brown and crispy. This is the best part!
7. You can also make the potatoes ahead and keep warm or reheat in a 350º oven.

Oh, don't forget to make your chicken stock. VERY IMPORTANT!

Chicken Stock

Put the chicken carcass in a large pot. Cover it with water. Add one onion chopped, one carrot chopped in some chunks, and one stalk of celery. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low and let simmer on the stove for 4 hours. Cool slightly. Strain the stock. Remove any meat from the bones and store in a small Tupperware container. Toss the bones and veggies. Store broth in the refrigerator in a large pitcher for the Wonton Noodle Soup recipe.

PS. Yo. Whole Foods. Did you see that I bought a WHOLE CHICKEN for $4.00. Yes. A whole friggin' chicken. I'm still mad about the kabobs.


  1. Hi, just stopping by from Top Mommy Blogs and I love this chicken and mashed potatoes. Would you consider linking it up at my blog hop party? Here is the direct link -

  2. Sounds very good, thanks for sharing, love your blog.


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