This recipe has been in my family so long that we don’t really even agree on how to make it anymore.
What we do know is that when my sister was living in Italy, my Italian cousin’s then-girlfriend taught this lemon chicken recipe to my sister. And we know that it’s made with a combination of lemon, garlic, olive oil, dry white wine, chicken, and basil.
Where it gets less clear is where my cousin’s then-girlfriend got this recipe. You see, if you start doing some internet research, you find plenty of Italian chicken recipes with artichokes. And you see a lot of recipes that combine lemons with basil but not with chicken.
But the lack of an exact origin story shouldn’t deter you — this recipe has some of the most iconic Italian flavors all in one dish. And it’s as suited to a weeknight meal as it is to a dinner party.
Tips To Make This Recipe
This recipe is pretty straightforward and easy to make. However, there are a few keys to making it a success:
- Use a large pan: There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe so you’ll want to pull out your largest pan. I recommend at least a 12-inch frying pan or even a large braiser pan like this.
- Don’t skip the lemon and olive oil step: This step provides a ton of flavor so make sure you let the lemons and garlic cook long enough that the olive oil gets infused well. However, make sure you don’t cook it so long that the garlic burns and it all becomes bitter.
- Use a good quality white wine: As we’ve said before if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. The only other note about wine is that you want something that is fresh and not too fruity or oaky because you want the wine to complement not overwhelm the other flavors.
- Use chicken thighs over breasts: Look you can make this recipe with either chicken thighs or breasts but, if you like both cuts, I recommend chicken thighs because they’ll cook faster and will bring more flavors. If you use chicken breasts, you may need to cook the chicken longer when it’s covered with the pan.
- Taste the sauce: The sauce for this dish is pretty simple so you want to make sure you maximize the flavor without it being out of balance. If you have accumulated juices from the chicken, go ahead and add them. However, if you have accumulated juices from the lemons and garlic, taste that before adding it to make sure it’s not too sour as it could throw everything out of balance.
- Add the basil just before serving: Hot ingredients and fresh basil is a formula for wilted, blackened herbs so don’t add the basil until you’re ready to serve the dish.
How To Serve This Dish
The ingredients for this dish are available year-round so you can serve it really any time you’d like. But I’m a fan of cooking it during spring when it’s no longer cold but not quite hot out.
Serve this with roasted potatoes or over polenta for a complete meal. It’s also delicious with a simple green salad topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and some shavings of good cheese.
One-Pot Lemon-Garlic Basil Artichoke Chicken Recipe
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
or chicken breasts
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
plus more for garnish
- 2 to 3 lemons
sliced 1/4 inch thick, ends and seeds discarded
- 1 head garlic
cloves separated and peeled and halved
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
can use gluten-free flour (optional)
- 1 cup dry white wine
(like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or unoaked Chenin Blanc)
- 1 (15 ounce) jar grilled and marinated artichoke hearts
(we like Cucina & Amore brand), drained and cut into halves or quarters
- 3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
- Prepare The Chicken: Cut the chicken into 2-inch by 1-inch pieces and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper then set aside until ready to use.
- Make The Lemon Garlic Oil: Meanwhile, place the oil in a large (ideally 12 inches or larger) frying pan over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic and cook until it’s golden about 2 minutes. Add the lemon slices and cook until the lemons start to soften and the garlic is golden for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove the lemons and garlic to a plate.
- Partially Cook The Chicken: Return the pan (with the olive oil still in it) to the stove over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chicken and cook until the chicken pieces just start to turn white. Flip over and repeat on the other side. To clarify, you’re not looking to cook them all the way through here but rather about 75% through -- you may need to do this in batches). Partially cover and let cook until the chicken is about 95% cooked, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the cover and remove the chicken to a plate.
- Add Flour To The Chicken: Return pan to stove over medium heat, and, if using, sift the flour over the oil. Let it cook until the raw flour taste is cooked off, about 1 to 2 minutes then add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.Add the rinsed artichoke hearts and cook until the artichokes just start to break down and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Finish The Dish: Stir in the chicken, lemons, and garlic and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.Remove the pan from the heat, season with additional salt and pepper as desired, and taste the sauce, adding a drizzle of olive oil. Stir in all the basil and serve immediately.