Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Leeks

Happy New Year, MLK Day, Valentine’s, and President's Day! Hope your 2020 is off to an amazing start. It has been a busy, wonderful year so far at our house.

As happens at the start of every year, most of us have probably been in the process of  resetting our eating habits after the season of feasts and parties that end last year, and perhaps after a few too many Valentine desserts as well.

To be honest, I’ve fallen off the horse and gotten back up a few times already this year, so I thought I’d kick the year off here with a simple recipe that’s healthy-ish – chicken thighs cooked with leeks and lemon. I’ll admit that I’m hoping to inspire myself right now towards healthfulness, just as much I want to pass that inspiration onto you. It’s nothing sooo chaste as to make one depressed, but just a simple dish that can be prepared just about any day, with plenty of bright flavors to keep our mouths happy.

If you want to go a step further, use skinless chicken thighs to reduce calories and fat. On the other hand, if you have a few calories to spare add a side of brown rice or potatoes. Alternatively, try adding in canned white beans or chickpeas before putting the pan in the oven to make the dish more substantial without adding in extra carbs. 

Wine Pairing

Pair this with a medium to full bodied white wine with lots of fresh acidity to match the citrus notes in the food. We enjoyed it with a bottle of Duchman Family Roussanne 2017 out of Texas (SRP $24). If you’re thinking ‘TEXAS?’ Yeah, Texas. My previous experiences with Texas wines have not always been great, but I was really pleasantly surprised with the two bottles I was sent from Duchman as media samples. (Note all opinions are my own.) If you’re curious about learning more about them, I wrote about their Aglianico on Somm’s Table, which we paired with a delicious brisket.

Photo borrowed from the Duchman Family website.
This Roussanne showed aromas on the nose of honeysuckle, tinned pineapple, tangerine, and grapefruit on the nose, with a light hint of lemongrass. On the palate we got lots of ripe citrus, white peach, tangerine pith, flowers, and light stoniness on the bright finish. 

Chicken with Lemon and Leeks

Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Leeks

Yield: 6
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 29 Mtotal time: 39 M


  • 6 chicken thighs
  • Approximately ¼ cup brandy or neutral white wine
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • (Optional) ¼ to ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • Salt
  • Peper
  • Olive oil (or other cooking oil of your choice)


How to cook Chicken with Lemon and Leeks

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat until the oil is starting to shimmer. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sear chicken skin-side down until golden brown, then flip and continue cooking until lightly browned on the second side as well. Transfer the chicken to another platter and set aside.
  3. Strain the majority of the chicken juices and fat out of the pan, reserving about two tablespoons. Deglaze the pan with brandy or white wine, making sure to scrape up any brown bits.
  4. Add the leeks with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, then sauté until they are beginning to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and a little bit of water (about ¼ to ⅓ cup) or chicken stock. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 20 minutes. (Chicken should have reached a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.) Remove chicken from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve.

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