If you are lucky enough to get early spring Vidalia onions complete with greens, you will love them in this Vidalia Onion Lemon Chicken. If the greens are not available, any small to medium Vidalia onion will do. (Or if necessary, other sweet onions.)
Many chicken and lemon recipes include zest or cooking with the rind in the pan. Here I am only using the lemon juice to allow the flavor of the Vidalia onion to shine.
Notes on Ingredients
Vidalia onions are specifically labeled onions grown in and around Vidalia, Georgia. You can find several types of sweet onions available today, but the people of Vidalia claim, with good cause, that theirs are the sweetest. If it is possible, get some in early May, young and with the greens attached.
Market Vegetable Stock
This Vidalia onion lemon chicken recipe also uses a light vegetable stock. I try to freeze trimmings (stalks, tough greens, etc.) from fresh vegetables. From this I make a market vegetable stock and keep blocks or containers of this frozen in my freezer. If you do not have that, any vegetable or any chicken stock will do.
Notes on Technique
Approach to Browning
Typically, one coats meat to be braised with flour before browning. This allows the flour to cook a bit and not taste raw in the final sauce. My approach in applying analytics is to find patterns (ie, the typical flour then brown approach) and also variation. It is in researching that variation that you may find creativity that can help your cooking. I noticed in Jacques Pépin’s Chicken in Mustard Sauce that he used a technique of browning the chicken, then browning the onions, then sprinkling the flour onto the chicken, and then browning the flour. Why is this important here? Vidalia onions have an extremely high level of moisture. To get the most out of the sweetness, they need to be caramelized and the moisture reduced. Browning them well before the flour is added brings out that flavor. Otherwise, you will have either undercooked onions or scorched flour.
Browning the Greens
The recipe calls for browning the greens in a separate pan. I like to char them without oil, then lightly salt. A cast iron skillet is good for this, or you may roast them in the oven.
- 4 boneless chicken thighs, (see note 1)
- 1 tablespoon flour, for coating chicken
- 1 medium Vidalia Onion including greens, (see note 2)
- olive oil
- 2/3 cup Market Vegetable Stock
- handful thyme, stems removed
- 1 lemon
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Chop the whites of the onion fairly coarsely. Set to the side. Chop the greens into about ½ inch slices. Set to the side in another pile.
- Prepare the lemon by cutting in two and remove as many visible seeds as possible. The lemon juice will be added a half at a time.
- In a pan large enough to spread out the chicken add enough oil to lightly coat the pan. Heat the oil with medium heat. When hot, brown the chicken for one and a half minutes on each side.
- Mix in the onion and continue cooking for one to two minutes until the onions are golden and slightly caramelized.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the flour, turning them so that all of the pieces are coated. Cook for one minute to lightly brown the flour.
- Add the stock and stir to dissolve the flour until the mixture comes to a boil. While heating, Scrape the bottom of the pan to have the brown bits, the fond, dissolve into the stock. Add half of the lemon juice. Cover the pan and lower the heat and gently simmer for five to ten minutes.
- While chicken is finishing, heat an iron skillet or a non-stick skillet (only if made for high heat!) or roast in the oven. Add the onion greens and allow to brown, stirring and turning as required for even cooking. 30 seconds to a minute may be all that is needed. Lightly salt. (Note, this is done with no oil, so make sure your pan is fine for this. Iron skillets are wonderful for this.)
- When the chicken is done, add the remaining lemon juice over the chicken. Spoon the thickened sauce and onions over the chicken to coat well. Serve and again spoon sauce and onions over chicken. Garnish the chicken with the browned greens.
Note 1: If using bone-in chicken thighs then allow initial searing to be about a minute longer on each side and final simmer to be at least 10 minutes longer. This depends on the thickness of the thighs.
Note 2: The onions greens are a wonderful addition to the dish, but they are hard to get. Often only available in early spring. If not available just the onion white will do. Use a small to medium onion or half of a large Vidalia.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 486mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 36g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.