Braised Lemon Chicken with Dill and Turmeric – Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipe
Fresh dill makes me happy. I love many herbs, but dill is right at the top of my list. The aroma reminds me of spring. Its bright green color cheers me up. The little baby herb fronds are so soft and fun to chop. Dare I say it? This herb is cute. Dill makes me smile. Weird? Yes. I must have been a pickle in my past life.
For centuries dill was used in medicinal concoctions for everything from colic to bad breath. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I dill was recognized for its culinary value and was added to her royal gardens. One recipe that appeared during the Elizabethan period calls for dill in a dish of steamed spinach and sliced shallots with lemon juice. The pairing of dill and lemon, even early on, makes perfect sense. Lemon and dill go together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say.
Nowadays dill is generally associated with pickling, but it can be used in all kinds of savory dishes. Here I’ve paired fresh dill with lemon juice and turmeric to create a simple and satisfying chicken entree. Chicken thighs are braised, slowly simmered with fresh dill in broth with a healthy does of anti-inflammatory turmeric spice. I also add a pinch of cayenne for just a touch of heat. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is added at the very end along with an extra sprinkle of fresh dill for a bright burst of flavor. This dish takes only 5 minutes to prep and another 40 minutes to cook, resulting in a satisfying entree just perfect for a weeknight meal. As obsessed as I am with dill, my husband and stepdaughter crave lemon. The flavor makes us all happy and I love the ease of preparation; this dish has quickly worked its way into our regular meal rotation. Enjoy!
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- 6 chicken thighs, bone in skin on
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 qt low sodium chicken broth (you won't need the whole quart)
- 8 sprigs fresh dill + 1/2 tbsp chopped dill, divided
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
You will also need
- Large skillet or saute pan with lid
- Heat olive oil on high in saute pan until it just begins to smoke. As oil heats, season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.
- Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Remove thighs from pan and set aside.
- Add sliced onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, soft and starting to turn golden. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Return thighs to pan, skin side up. Pour in chicken broth until it reaches halfway up the sides of the thighs.
- Arrange the fresh dill sprigs over and around the thighs (reserve the chopped dill). Sprinkle on 1/2 tsp turmeric, a pinch of cayenne, and 1/4 tsp salt (if you’re salt sensitive, you may omit the salt here and simply add to taste at the end of cooking). Bring broth to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium.
- Cover the pan, vented, and reduce heat to medium low. Let the thighs simmer for 40-45 minutes, basting with the cooking liquid every 10 minutes or so, until meat is exceptionally tender.
- Remove thighs from pan. Remove the dill sprigs from the broth. Add 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to the pan sauce, or more to taste, as well as additional salt and pepper to taste if desired. The sauce should be semi-thick at this point; feel free to thicken it further with a slurry of 1 tbsp water and 2 tsp cornstarch, adding slowly to the pan and stirring at a simmer until desired thickness is reached.
- Serve thighs and sauce topped with remaining freshly chopped dill. Pairs well with any neutral-flavored starch like rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes.
Seymour, Miranda. A Brief History of Thyme and Other Herbs. New York: Grove, 2002. Print.