Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken

The Recipe: So yeah. This chicken is easy to make. (It even tastes like it's grilled but is cooked, quick-quick, under the broiler.) And there's garlic, lots of garlic. And fresh herbs, parsley, mint, thyme and oregano. But isn't Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken a, y'know, mouthful? That's why here at home I call it "Med Chicken," a name as short and simple and enticing as this marinated Middle-eastern chicken tastes at the table. Make some hummus and enjoy!

The Conversation: A call for your best kitchen pantry ideas!

Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken aka Med Chicken ♥ KitchenParade.com

Do you have a pantry? A little pantry? A big pantry?? Or are you like me, living without a kitchen pantry, even a small one?

The funny thing is, when we redid our kitchen four years ago, we actually removed an inefficient pantry. After it was gone, I made room for a few cans of beans and tomatoes below a counter (awkward ...) and opened up a couple of shelves in the laundry area (small ...) for a few staples. But that was it.

And honestly? I didn't ONCE miss a pantry.

(Want to know more about our remodel? Ten Things I Love About Our New Kitchen Several are easy-easy things not requiring a contractor or a budget.)

Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken aka Med Chicken (marinating) ♥ KitchenParade.com

But you guess what's coming, right? I didn't once miss having a kitchen pantry – until, that is, we started planning for one in the new house! So now I am obsessed with pantry design and poke my head into every in-real-life and digital pantry whether tiny or enormous, whether messy and hyper-organized.

In fact, I've already started to stock groceries as if we already have a big pantry. Where in heavens do I put all this stuff, now, today, in our current pantry-less kitchen?!

Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken aka Med Chicken (ingredients) ♥ KitchenParade.com

So I'd love your pantry ideas! If your pantry really works for you, please share what makes it work so well – or maybe it doesn't work for you, that would be fascinating too! If you've seen something that really impressed you, share that too. I'm hungry for pantry patter!

Here's what I know about our situation in the new house.

We'll be 15 miles from the nearest grocery (a Walmart Supercenter) and 45 miles from my staple stores, Trader Joe's and the St. Louis-based grocery chain Schnucks and oh no! my favorite Sam's Club rotisserie chicken!
We'll be the same distance from restaurants. No more impromptu suppers out, no more supplementing supper with a little carryout.
When family and friends visit, they'll travel what country people call a "fur distance". Today's dinner guests may well become tomorrow's "dinner + bed 'n' breakfast" guests.

What I envision in the pantry of my dreams is one filled with a "personal grocery store" of our household staples, multiples of all our favorite ingredients, a real "cook's pantry" not a warehouse of processed food. Pantry-stable ingredients will be easy, I think, so long as everything can be seen, stored and managed to minimize shopping trips. The freezer will hold meat and the few frozen foods we use. In summer, we'll harvest fresh vegetables from the garden. An extra fridge will help too.

But that's as far as I've gotten. If you have suggestions, please do send them my way! You're welcome to leave a comment or send a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com, either one.


Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken aka Med Chicken ♥ KitchenParade.com

But now, Easy Garlic-Herb Mediterranean Chicken! (And yes, I can totally imagine making this from the pantry-that-lives-in-my-head.) Late last summer, this became my go-to dinner for family gatherings, it's a hit with kids and grown-ups alike. It "tastes" like grilled chicken but doesn't require standing over a hot grill on a hot summer night. That grilled flavor starts with the garlicky-herby marinade, then ends with the broiler where a little "burn" is put on the chicken. So good!

For these gatherings, I serve the chicken with easy, make-ahead summer food like the wonderful Greek Pasta Salad loaded with veggies and dressed with a creamy feta vinaigrette and other Middle-Eastern slash Mediterranean foods and when the tomatoes are good, a big Fattoush (Traditional Middle Eastern Salad).

But first, I cook a big pot of dried chickpeas, How to Cook Dried Chickpeas Especially for Hummus aka "Jerusalem Chickpeas" and then make a can's equivalent of cooked chickpeas for Roasted Eggplant “Hummus" (Eggplant & Chickpea Dip & Spread) and another for my Crazy-Smooth Crazy-Good Hummus.

The marinade makes great use of fresh herbs and hey, that makes this a good time to issue my annual admonition recommendation to plant at least a few herbs. Why? Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again! It's life-changing, a "green" pantry, if you will!

So the chicken's great for groups. But on the other hand, I also scale the recipe down for the three of us plus leftovers for lunch or chicken salad. Good news, the chicken makes excellent chicken salad!


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EASY GARLIC-HERB MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 9 – 24 hours
Serves 8 – 12

    MARINADE & CHICKEN
    (enough for 3 pounds chicken, easily scaled up or down)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Zest & juice (about 2 tablespoons) from a lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon sumac
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

    YOGURT SAUCE
    (enough for THREE POUNDS CHICKEN)
  • 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (full-fat works too)
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • Zest & juice (about 2 tablespoons) from a lemon

    NOW, DRIZZLE & SPRINKLE WITH ABANDON!
    (don't skip these)
  • Cooked Chicken
  • Drizzle of lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Drizzle of Yogurt Sauce (serve remainder on the side)
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • Sprinkle of minced fresh parsley & mint
  • Sprinkle of sumac
  • Lemon wedges, garnish

MARINADE & CHICKEN Preferably 9 hours before serving, make the Marinade. (Don't have 9 hours? Allow at least 90 minutes before serving time.) In a mini food processor, process the garlic and salt until the garlic is finely minced. (If you like, set aside a teaspoon of garlic for the Yogurt Sauce!) Transfer the garlic to a large bowl and stir in the remaining marinade ingredients.

With a sharp knife, slice off any unsavory bits of skin or fat from the chicken thighs. If the thighs are large or to make the meat serve more people, cut the thighs in half. Drop thighs into marinade and really stir the chicken around so that all the outer surfaces are covered. Transfer to a refrigerator container or a gallon-size freezer bag.

Cover or seal and refrigerate to marinate the chicken for about 8 hours (the sweet spot) or 1 hour (on the low end, the marinade won't add as much flavor) or up to 24 hours (looots of flavor).

YOGURT SAUCE At least an hour before serving (and preferably 9 hours before), mix all the Sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.

COOK CHICKEN Place an oven rack directly under the broiler. Set the oven on 500F/260C (broiler setting). Line a baking sheet with foil. Without crowding, arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer. Broil until cooked through, flipping once, and chicken appears "grilled" with slightly crispy edges. The actual time will vary, start with 5–10 minutes per side, then gauge from there.

SPRINKLE WITH ABANDON! Arrange chicken on a large platter. Drizzle with lemon juice and a little Yogurt Sauce, then sprinkle with black pepper, the fresh herbs and sumac. Serve and enjoy!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS The marinade may be made the day before; just combine it with the chicken 8 hours before cooking. The Yogurt Sauce may also be made the day before.

ALANNA's TIPS For a crowd, I mix a big-big batch; a sheet pan holds about five pounds of chicken. This chicken is great party food, a real crowd pleaser! One evening, 3 pounds of chicken fed about 8 people. Bone-in chicken thighs also work but do allow time to remove the skins, they add so many calories and just aren't that appealing cooked this way. And, honestly, I prefer the boneless thighs. Hmm, it might be the first time I've said this! Rushed for time? Next time I make the Marinade, I'll use the big food processor to mince the garlic and salt together, then throw in the rest of the marinade ingredients, processing not too much, leaving pieces of the fresh herbs intact. Since it's been in contact with raw chicken, be sure to discard any extra Marinade left in the freezer bag or bowl.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 8 servings; non-fat yogurt; absorption of 100% of marinade which is unlikely): 266 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 141mg Cholesterol; 373mg Sodium; 3g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 36g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 5 CALORIE COUNTERS 1/3 serving = 100-calorie serving (13g protein).
Adapted from the New York Times, another Sunday win! Other cooks rave about this too!

Celebrating Summer!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
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Wasn’t there some blogger who built a big pantry with a DOZEN KitchenAids all lined up? CRAZY.
 
The chicken looks fantastic - I'm definitely saving this! And, although you broil it, there's no reason I couldn't grill this, is there? I'm thinking to spatchcock then marinate a whole farm-fresh chicken, then grill-roasting, which is a summer favorite around here.

As for a pantry - I don't have one in my tiny kitchen. We've installed shelving in the basement, though, and use that. I have one set for "foodstuffs," another for canning jars, etc., and a separate shelf for small appliances and cookware that don't get heavy use (blender, pressure cooker, dutch ovens, etc.). I figure going up and down the stairs will either force us to be more efficient with our trips, or, at worst, I can certainly use the extra exercise!
 
Anonymous ~ Yes I saw that. I think it’s nuts myself. My mother used to say, “More money than sense.” But so be it, not my pantry. Nor yours. :-)

Kris ~ Grilling would be great, I think, but you do want the chicken edges to get a little crispy, without drying out the meat itself. Goals! Thanks too for your tips, your situation is a lot like ours now, we have a storage room in the basement, no food there though, just “stuff” -- and no blender, I’m not letting it out of my sight!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna