Even before any of this gets on to my plate, the smell of the garlic and oregano sizzling in the olive oil, almost makes me feel as if I’m on one of the gorgeous, sun drenched Greek islands. This is indeed based on the utterly delicious but wonderfully simple Greek classic, Kotopoulo Lemonato. Greeks will use, for this amount of chicken, up to 2 whole lemons but I am defeated by anything more than one.  Feel free to adjust the citrus sharpness of the dish to your personal level of  tolerance. 

To bulk this up, you may like to add a few peeled (or unpeeled) and roughly cut up potatoes into the pan with the chicken. The potato chunks should be large enough to cook at the same rate as the chicken and also to look appropriately and desirably rustic. The amount of oil I specify is quite modest by Greek standards - feel free to add for a more voluptuous sauce or subtract for narrower hips. This will taste best cooked with a green, fruity olive oil. To preserve that delicious fruitiness, keep the heat moderate to low from start to finish. You could alternatively, start this on the stove and finish off in the oven, after adding the wine, stock or water and bringing it to the boil.

Have plenty of crusty bread on hand to mop up the luscious sauce and enough of young, fresh, white wine to make you want to dance on the table before smashing  the crockery on the floor, when you're done eating! Until I actually make it to those breathtaking blue-washed isles, a plate of this, in my sunny balcony, will have to do, plate hurling, optional...

Prep 15 minutes      Cook 45 minutes      Serves 4 – 6

50 ml (1/4 teacup) good quality olive oil
1 medium-sized chicken, cleaned and cut into 12 pieces
Enough all-purpose flour to dust chicken pieces
4 - 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 level tsp dried oregano (or to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
200 ml (1 teacup) dry white wine, chicken stock or water

  • Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat until moderately hot.
  • Lightly dust the chicken pieces with flour and brown evenly on all sides.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and mix in thoroughly with the chicken.  Ensure garlic does not burn.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and evenly sprinkle over the dried oregano. Pour in the lemon juice and water or wine and stir everything thoroughly until well combined.
  • Lower heat to a simmer and cover pan. Cook gently for about 45 minutes, stirring often. Chicken is done when tender and no longer pink at the bone. Serve with potatoes or rice and a salad.
Drink suggestion: Try an unoaked Chardonnay or better still, a South African Chenin Blanc (Steen) or a Portuguese white such as Alvarinho  or Vinho Verde. Any light, slightly effervescent white wine with hints of citrus, green apple or stone fruit will do very nicely.