Nigel Slater Lemon Chicken – With A Twist

Nigel Slater is a well-known English food writer, journalist, cook. He’s made a number of tasty recipes over the years, and today we’re breaking down one of his most simple ones ever – lemon chicken. It’s a concept so hard to mess up that is always going to satisfy. Its perfect use of delicious flavours will catch your attention right off the bat – but wait until you try our twist on the classic. It brings a whole new depth of flavour that is, honestly, unrivalled in my experience.

Nigel Slater lemon chicken makes use of (you guessed it) lemon, chicken garlic, and a few other ingredients to make a delicious meal in as little as an hour.

And as always, you can expect us to get right to the point. DreamyHome does away with the faff and filler present in a lot of other recipes. That means no tales of a fictional famous relative’s recipe, no long, drawn-out foreword, and a guaranteed hit of a recipe.

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Nigel Slater Lemon Chicken: Recipe and Ingredients

As per usual, we’re starting with the mise en place. Prepare all of your ingredients beforehand to ensure a smooth cooking experience. It helps ensure nothing gets forgotten, burnt, or overcooked and will make your life drastically easier.

To make this lemon chicken, you’ll need:

  1. 6 large bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  2. Juice of 2 lemons
  3. 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  4. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 3 preserved lemons
  6. 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  7. handful pitted, sliced green olives
  8. 4 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  9. Sea salt
  10. 3 tbsp honey

Now that you’ve got everything ready and waiting, it’s time to make some food!

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The Recipe

  1. Grind or blitz your peppercorns until roughly crushed. Mix with lemon juice, honey, mustard, and garlic.
  2. Combine this with with your chicken in a ziplock bag, marinading until needed (at least one hour).
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 °C
  4. Place your chicken thighs into a large roasting pan, pouring the marinade over the top. Season to taste with salt, and cook for 45 minutes or until fully golden brwon, turning halfway through.
  5. Cut the flesh away from your preserved lemons, discarding the flesh. Finely chop your preserved lemon rind, tossing with olives and parsley.
  6. When the chicken is finished, garnish with olive and lemon mixture.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

That was perhaps the easiest recipe I’ve ever written. I would be amiss in my job as a chef, however, if I didn’t make it a bit more complicated. Don’t worry, it gets better with time.

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The Twist: Recipe and Ingredients

This twist makes use of the same base, but with a few necessary changes. You’ll need:

  1. 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  2. 1 head of garlic, separated into halves
  3. ~50 mL good, dry white wine
  4. 50 mL balsamic vinegar
  5. Olive oil
  6. 2 tbsp honey

Now, all that’s left is the cooking!

The Recipe

The main changes here are the addition of vinegar and wine, and the fact that we’re cooking in a pan. While the oven method above is certainly easier, it’s not quite as good in my experience. This allows a bit more control over the whole thing – which is wonderful when making a sticky sauce.


  1. Heat your olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Season your chicken with the same marinade as above, adding a bit of fresh salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the chicken on both sides in your pan with the sprigs of thyme and your head of garlic.
  4. Add your vinegar and honey to the pan, reducing until it’s roughly halved in volume. It should be starting to form a syrup of sorts.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
  6. Add your wine to the sauce, reducing further.
  7. Pour sauce over chicken, garnishing with fresh parsely and preserved lemon slices.

If at this point you’re asking, “but how do I make preserved lemon?” keep reading.

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Preserved Lemon

This is super easy and great in just about anything that calls for lemon. It can be used as a garnish or as a part of a salad, and is often used in Middle Eastern cooking – so it’s great to have. And best of all – they last for pretty quite a long time.

You’ll need:

  1. 10 lemons
  2. 130 grams kosher salt
  3. Fresh lemon juice
  4. Canning jar and lid, sterilised
  1. Cleana each of your lemons, removing any stems. Cut the very end off on both ends, and quarter them. Leave them attached at the base.
  2. Pull open the lemons and sprinkle with salt, inside and out.
  3. Put ~15 grams of salt at the bottom of your container.
  4. Pack in your lemons so juice comes out, covering them with the extra lemon juice if needed. Top with remaining salt.
    1. They need to be fully submerged when finished.
  5. Seal your jar and let it sit for several days. Turn it over every day or so to mix everything around. Refrigerate at least 3 weeks, until the rind has softened.

These can last up to 6 months when properly sealed and refrigerated – so go wild. Adding spices like peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, thyme, or nutmeg can add extra flavour to the mixture and make for a wonderful addition to desserts and entrees alike!

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Final Thoughts

Nigel Slater’s lemon chicken is incredibly easy to make. It requires more time to marinade the chicken than it does to prep everything and cook it, which makes it a great go-to when unsure of what to do. Adding our balsamic and white wine sauce to it will pack it with increased flavour, while still achieving that sticky glaze that makes it so popular.

And making your own preserved lemons goes miles in terms of adaptability. I personally love making two batches of preserved lemons at a time – one that’s rosemary and thyme-infused, and another with nutmeg and cardamom. The former goes on chicken, while the latter goes onto whatever I’m doing for dessert – cheesecake, pie, or tiramisu, it all benefits from that extra added kick! You can even make a salad with preserved lemon peel, pickled beets, and goat’s cheese that will blow your mind – trust me here, it’s incredible.

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