Using Creme Fraiche Part III: Amanda Hesser’s Lemon Chicken (with Walnut Green Beans)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 28, 2010 at 12:48pm

OK, assuming that you used about 1/2 cup total of creme fraiche for Part I: Softly Scrambled Eggs and Part II: Sauteed Apple with Honey, you should be all set to finish off the container with this dish. And if not – who cares? This chicken is so obscenely delicious that it would totally be worth throwing away the rest of the container for! Bonus: It’s as easy as putting on lipstick, so tuck this in your back pocket for when your in-laws are in town and you want to impress. (But really, just make it tonight. So. Good.)

I asked the kind butchers at Whole Foods to bone – but leave the skin on – four chicken breast halves for me. All chicken breasts should have the skin on as far as I’m concerned – it’s the best part and makes for a much more tender piece of meat, and if you don’t want it, just toss it! But I’m in the minority here, as I am on most things, so you’ll have to either bone the breasts yourself or ask your butcher to do it for you. Of course you could make this dish with boneless, skinless breasts but…you’d miss the skin! Especially when it gets utterly, shatteringly crispy and golden brown, protecting the tender meat beneath.

The sauce is just lemon and creme fraiche. And oh, the golden bits from the pan, very important. Rich, creamy, addictively tangy – you can’t screw up this dish and can’t not adore it either.

The green beans are sadly the last of the season, at least here in Minnesota. I boiled them until just-tender and tossed them with a little walnut oil, toasted walnuts, and mushrooms sauteed in butter with shallots. It was all so pretty together. I will miss good green beans. Until next June…

The chicken? We’ll be eating it all winter!

Amanda Hesser’s Lemon Chicken
Serves 4

1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 whole chicken legs with thighs attached (I used skin-on, boneless chicken breast halves)
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. After 3 minutes, add the butter and oil. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and brown well on both sides, turning once.

Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.

Return the skillet to the stove top. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Remove all but 1 Tbsp. of fat from the skillet. Place over medium heat, add the lemon juice, and stir to scrape up any pan drippings. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the creme fraiche and lemon zest and stir until melted and bubbling. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with additional pepper. Serve hot.

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Older Comments

  1. By FreshTartSteph on November 4, 2010 at 1:05PM

    Delicious fate - enjoy! And thanks :)

  2. By JulieBart on November 4, 2010 at 7:51AM

    Saw this the other morning, thought about it all day, then knew I was meant to make it when my boyfriend brought home skin-on chicken breasts and said "any ideas what we should do with these?" Delicious. Thank you for posting!

  3. By FreshTartSteph on November 3, 2010 at 8:32AM

    You're so sweet :) Mmm, creme fraiche with fish, dill, sounds delicious. Yes, Amanda Hesser's recipes are always so clever. I love how she keeps things approachable, but takes the flavor up a notch. Good stuff.

  4. By FinnLover on November 3, 2010 at 6:03AM

    I absolutely love crème fraîche and make a similar sauce (crème fraîche, lemon, dill) to serve with fish all the time. But the addition of the golden bits from the pan is so clever! And those green beens look scrumptious.

  5. By manda2177 on November 1, 2010 at 5:57AM

    Amazing pictures!! Way to go! You really made this look delicious, and I gotta tell ya, I am a skin on kinda girl as well! :) You need to get that stumble upon toolbar on your blog so I can stumble yours posts... I think the world should see your work!:)


  6. By FreshTartSteph on October 30, 2010 at 7:55AM

    Thank you Deana! I agree - white sets off food so prettily, but it definitely gets boring. I don't always have the appropriate dish for such a patterned plate, but this one fit the bill nicely. I was happy to use that plate - thank you for noticing and leaving such a nice comment! Your site is gorgeous - Happy Halloween!

  7. By deana@lostpastremembered on October 30, 2010 at 4:01AM

    The styling caught my eye with that spectacular 19th c plate... white is so dull after a while. It made the dish look even better... lovely site too.. glad I found you!