Braised Chicken Legs with Lemon

Poulet au Citron

Preparation info

  • Servings:


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

The lemon and garlic alliance is borrowed from French Catalan cooking. Were the dish prepared in that country, Banyuls, a fortified wine vinified in much the same way as Port, would replace the white wine in this recipe.

Serve a plain, uncondimented pilaf or parboiled and steamed rice as an accompaniment.


  • 20 to 25 large, firm, crisp garlic cloves, peeled without crushing, parboiled for 5 minutes, and drained
  • cups veal or chicken stock
  • 4 chicken legs
  • Salt, pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon, peeled (all white inner peel removed), thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup dry white wine


    Poach the parboiled garlic cloves for about 40 minutes in the stock, covered, kept at a slight simmer.

    Color the seasoned chicken legs in butter over medium heat (20 to 25 minutes) and transfer them to an oven casserole. Strain the stock to remove the garlic cloves, taking care not to damage them. Scatter the garlic over the chicken pieces, distribute the lemon slices, and put the casserole aside, covered, until the sauce is prepared.

    Remove any excess fat from the pan in which the chicken was browned (leaving just enough to absorb the flour), add the flour and cook, stirring, over low heat for a few moments. Deglaze with the white wine over high heat, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon, add the stock, and pour into a small saucepan; this is important, the small surface permitting a more rapid and complete skimming and degreasing of the sauce while preventing, at the same time, an exaggerated reduction. Skim (skin) for about 15 minutes, removing any traces of loose fat from the surface with absorbent paper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and its garnish and cook, covered, in a 375° to 400° oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The lemon will have almost completely disappeared into the sauce; the garlic cloves should be absolutely intact with a consistency of melting purée; the sauce must be tasted to be believed.