Braised Lemon Chicken

Ursula Ferrigno/Cucina Siciliana

If we never get tired of eating chicken, it’s because there are a million and one ways to keep it interesting. Take this braised lemon chicken from Cucina Siciliana, for example. It’s all at once hearty and bright, thanks to plenty of citrus zest and a white wine pan sauce.

“A light, lemony chicken casserole from Ragusa, Italy,” author Ursula Ferrigno writes, “this just needs a little mountain bread to mop up the juices and perhaps a leafy salad to follow.”

Serve it with a glass of white wine to sip while you brainstorm the next chicken dinner you’ll whip up.

From Cucina Siciliana: Fresh and Vibrant Recipes from a Unique Mediterranean Island by Ursula Ferrigno, Ryland Peters & Small, 2019.

Braised Cannellini Beans with Prosciutto and Herbs


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Thinly sliced zest of 3 lemons

1 small onion, chopped

2 sage sprigs

1 (240 ml) cup dry white wine


1. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, then dust them lightly with flour all over.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown well on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the lemon zest, onion and sage to the pan. Sauté until the onion is golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the juices that have accumulated on the plate. Pour the wine over the chicken, partially cover the pan and simmer gently until the chicken is very tender and most of the wine has evaporated, 50 to 55 minutes. The chicken should be golden brown in color and glazed with the pan juices. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

5. Arrange the chicken pieces on warm plates. Using a metal spoon, skim any excess fat from the pan juices, then taste and adjust the seasoning. If too thick, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Pour the juices over the chicken and serve.