Just In Time For Mother’s Day: Lesley Ann’s Famous Chicken


About 10 years ago, in a far away land, I married the love of my life. The wedding took place on a game reserve in Johannesburg, which was owned by very dear friends. We had all sorts of people come to the wedding, from far and wide, including my husband’s family from the US. My In Laws had yet to meet my parents, and the first time this happened was 5 days before the wedding when my mom invited everyone over for lunch. This is what she served, and neither I nor anyone who was there, will forget it. I have made it 100 times since then, and always think of my mom, and that day, which is a lovely memory. So, in time for Mother’s Day, this post is dedicated to the best mother in world whom I miss so much every day. And despite the huge distance between us, 7970 miles to be exact, I am grateful that I can feel close to her through these recipes. Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I love you more than words can say.

The beauty of this dish is its simplicity. Except for a few key ingredients, you can add or take away whatever you don’t like.
Here is the recipe:

Serves 4 to 6

6 – 8 chicken thighs, preferably organic
Flour for dredging
3 tspn Mustard Powder
1 tspn thyme
1/2 tspn chilli powder (optional)
Salt and Pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olives (optional)(if the olives are not pitted, make sure to warn your guests)
1 cup roughly chopped vegetables of your choice (zuchinni, butternut, carrots,beans, whatever you like, or don’t add any at all)
I cup of low sodium chicken broth, plus extra if neccessary (organic if possible)

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350F
Grease (with spray on olive oil or butter) an oven proof dish which is big enough to hold 6 to 8 thighs.
Dredge thighs in enough flour to coat well.
Place in the dish and sprinkle with mustard, thyme, chilli and whatever other spices you like.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chopped vegetables and the olives to the dish, placing randomly between the thighs.
Add the chicken stock – the liquid should just about cover mid-thighs, but leaving the skin untouched.
Add the garlic to the liquid, then add the lemon juice.
(if it’s easier, do these last 2 steps in a separate bowl – add the lemon juice and minced garlic to the chicken stock and pour into the ovenproof dish)
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes until skin is browned and crispy.

Serve with rice, bulgur or quinoa and a crunchy green salad. Make sure to spoon lots of the lemony vegetable liquid over your chicken and rice.

PS the picture of the recipe is taken with an iPhone, so apologies for the quality 🙂


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