This Lemony Greek Chicken Breasts recipe is originally intended for the outside grill, but given the fact that it hadn’t been above 25 degrees in days, I decided to go ahead with it using “Grilliam” our large Staub enameled cast iron grill pan. Here, the easy marinade infuses chicken breasts with the classic Greek flavors of lemon, garlic and oregano plus Greek yogurt for a more tender bite.
And a classic Greek pairing is onions and potatoes, so I found a fitting “potato only” recipe online, then adapted it to suit our preferences—one being adding onions. (although it is more time consuming than the chicken, so be prepared). Ingredients for both the entrée and side dish include lemon, garlic and oregano, which can also be incorporated to finish your veggie, such as the steamed broccoli in our meal.
Marinate the meat in just half of the marinade, reserving the remainder for basting. The chicken is adequately flavored in just 30 minutes, but if possible, let it soak in all that Greek flavor for up to three hours in a ziploc gallon storage bag. (Don’t go longer than that to avoid the chicken from becoming mealy.)
The acid from the lemon in your marinade helps break down the connective tissue in the meat, adding flavor and creating a softer chew. But the real secret to tenderizing this chicken is adding yogurt to the mix. The dairy ingredient has a more mild acidic level than some other raw enzyme acids, making it perfect for chicken, reducing the chance it will get mushy.
Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 160-165°F, and allow to rest for the juices to set.
Lemony Greek Chicken Breasts
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts)
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested (more lemon wedges for garnish)
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Place the chicken pieces in a gallon-sized ziploc bag and set aside.
- Add the Greek yogurt and olive oil to a medium size bowl. Zest the lemon and add to the bowl then juice that lemon into the bowl.
- Add the minced garlic, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper and stir. Pour half of the marinade into the freezer bag with the chicken pieces and reserve the other half of the marinade for basting.
- Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
- When ready to grill, prepare the grill, or grill pan, by lightly oiling the grates with vegetable oil or cooking spray and set to medium high heat.
- Remove chicken from ziploc and toss the bag with any remaining sauce.
- Grill the chicken, basting with the reserved marinade and turn often so each side browns and has light grill marks.
- Cook throughly, about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear and the temperature reaches 160°. Let rest for about 5-10 minutes so the juices redistribute.
- Serve warm with the Greek Lemon Potatoes and Onions if desired.
Greek Lemon Potatoes and Onions
The idea behind this recipe is that the potatoes suck up the amazing lemon-garlic-oregano flavored broth, then roast until golden along with onion wedges. Due to the cooking method, don’t expect super-crunchy, but they’ll have flavor unlike any other ordinary roasted potato. And what a perfect accompaniment for the Lemony Greek Chicken!
Greek Lemon Potatoes and Onions
- 2 1/2 lbs. starchy potatoes, peeled
- 1 large yellow onion peeled, root intact, cut into wedges
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large, or 2 smaller)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp. salt
- Lemon wedges and fresh oregano leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Peel potatoes and cut into thick wedges or chunks about 1″ thick.
- Peel the onion, trim off roots but leave root end intact, cut into 3/4″ wedges.
Place in a roasting pan with all the other ingredients. Toss well.
Roast for 20 minutes.
Turn potatoes, roast for a further 30 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed by potatoes/evaporated and you’re left with mainly oil in the pan.
To crisp the potatoes, transfer potatoes and onions to a separate baking sheet lined with parchment. Tilt the original roasting pan and scoop off as much of the oil/juices as you can and drizzle over the potatoes.
Return potatoes to oven and roast for another 20-25 minutes, turning once or twice, until potatoes and onions are golden and a bit crispy.
- Transfer potatoes and onions to a serving platter. Serve, garnished with lemon wedges and oregano if desired.