Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Just like Mama (Romano) used to make - Mama Romano's Baked Lemon Chicken

Sometimes it all comes together doesn't it? There I was, flicking through a cookbook in an idle moment (literally, so it feels) and there was a recipe that had been earmarked with a post it note in the dim and distant but the book had been shut and put back on the shelf, which kind of indicates one of two things - I have a short memory or else I have too many cookbooks. Actually, it probably indicates both things, seeing as it is me that is the subject of this particular character analysis. Anyway, in a 'What to cook that isn't faffy and uses up some of my freezer booty of reduced price meat' moment, I rediscovered 'Mama Romano's Baked Lemon Chicken' and space was duly made in the freezer and I breezed around the kitchen looking serene as a wonderful alchemy of chicken, thyme, lemon and garlic took place in my oven.
So, this recipe made me mull over several subjects whilst I was slicing onions and squeezing lemons. Firstly, mamas in general. There is something which pleases me about a dish which has some sort of hereditary provenance in that it was something that mama used to make. I have my own memories of what my mum cooked when I was at home, and indeed my mum's mum who loved a kitchen faff more than me I think. There is something vaguely egotistical about me which hopes that sometime in the future my own children will have a memory of something I used to cook that lives on in their memory from when they were children. Although come to think if it, egotistical is probably the wrong word. It is not ego to want to look after your children and cooking them something is part of the love that I try to give every single day (though if they read this at the moment they would think the 'love' was something that was a bit lacking, seeing as I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time peering at an unrealistic set of numbers on a laptop, or else marking the night away, making the occasional grunt when Phill offers me a brew, but kids it is still there, the love...)

Anyway, maybe Mama Blundell (if I ever get around to marrying the father of my children) will provide a special meal in years to come for Lola and Finn to wax lyrical about, though knowing Finn for instance it will be most likely celebrating the event of opening a bag of chicken nuggets, which is all he seems to want to eat anytime. Period. Until then, some other 'mama' will have to do...
This recipe is adapted from the Union Square Café cookbook by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano. As well as mulling over mamas I also remembered my wish to get around New York and eat my way around the place. Best lose half my body weight first. My curiosity for this book was piqued by my liking for all things Barefoot Contessa. It was her mentions of this restaurant that made me treat myself to this particular cookbook.
Here is the recipe:
Mama Romano's Baked Lemon Chicken. adapted from The Union Square Cookbook by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano.
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad and one other
Note: American recipe and therefore uses cups. I have put my notes in red
3 1/2 pounds chicken breasts and thighs, skinned (I used thighs and kept the skin on)                  
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour for dredging
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (I chopped mine really fine) 
8 sprigs fresh thyme (I used a heaped teaspoon of dried thyme) 
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
                2 lemons                   
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the chicken breasts in half, and season all chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the chicken pieces until golden brown. Transfer to a plate, and reserve.
Discard the fat from the skillet, and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat.
Spread the thyme over the onions and garlic. Arrange the browned chicken pieces side by side over the onions in the skillet. Add the chicken stock.
Cut one lemon into thin slices, remove the seeds, and place one slice atop each piece of chicken. Cut other lemon in half and squeeze through a strainer over the chicken. Return the skillet to the heat, and bring the stock to a simmer. Cover the pot, and bake in the oven for 5 to 15 minutes, basting the chicken with the cooking liquid.
I served this with some new potatoes and vegetables.


  1. Hi Stella,

    Being a mum these days is so different from our mums... Like me, my mum works full time too but she didn't cook at all at home. My grandma is the one who cooks for us instead :p Nice that your mum cooked for you and you appreciate what she did :)

    Totally agree that working+cooking+blogging+being a mum is never never never easy... Yes that we are tough mums doing this... So let's hang on!!!


  2. Hi Stella
    I was just looking through the list of Antonia's "European Multilingual Blogging Day 2013" contributors to see if there were any other food bloggers apart from me - and hooray there you are! Already loving your Baked Lemon Chicken... and have a look at my blog too:


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