Sticky Lemon Chicken – one pan, less mess!

I’m on a gym & healthy cooking frenzy! I am not a big fan of eating diet food – it takes the pleasure out of eating and it’s just NOT FUN. In the words of the great Julia Child:

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

Quite right. And so, in order to not turn into a porker, the only way to eat what you want is to exercise and balance what you put into your body with what you work out of it. I’m not talking about “balancing” eating a Big Mac by walking to the McDonalds around the corner. I’m talking about a good sweat, followed by a healthy and nutritious meal. For me this means  minimising butter, fatty oils and carbs, eating more fish and chicken, while maximising taste with herbs and seasonings, and plenty of greens.

So I thought I would try this recipe, adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s…

Sticky Lemon Chicken
Prep time 10 mins + cooking time 25 minutes = a quick meal!
Serves 4


1 large chicken, jointed into 8–10 pieces (or 4 pre-cut chicken thighs and 4 breast pieces)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tbsp olive oil
A few thyme sprigs, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/3 cup of hot water
3 tbsp honey
1 lemon,  sliced approx. 0.5mm
Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Cut up the chicken into 8 pieces and season the chicken joints with salt and pepper.

 Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken pieces over a high heat for two to three minutes on each side until golden brown.  Remove the breast pieces and cook the thigh pieces and wings for a further 2 minutes (bone-in sections take longer to cook through)

 Return all the chicken to the pan, drizzle the sherry vinegar and  the soy sauce and shake the pan to combine the juices. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, then red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar should also work.

 Pour the hot water in the pan and add the lemon slices and thyme.  Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes or so,turning the chicken occasionally. By now, the liquid should have reduced to a more syrupy consistency, and the chicken should be cooked through.

Drizzle the honey and add the parsley leaves to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more to bubble away for a bit longer. Then serve!

Transfer the chicken to a platter, spoon over the liquor and serve with your chosen side dishes.

My poulet

It was so nice to get home after the gym and cook a meal in 30 minutes! The best thing about it – all you need is a chopping board, a knife, a set of tongs and one large pan, with very little mess and washing up.

The sauce was wonderful, and very nice to soak up with a piece of bread once we’d finished all the chicken! The lemon and honey added such a nice balance to the dish, both flavours present but neither overpowering.

Hope you enjoy it!

My notes:

Cutting up the whole chicken takes time, and having pieces of chicken of different sizes resulted in the breast pieces being a bit dry, whilst the drumsticks were slightly undercooked. To make life easier, next time I’ll buy a pack each of pre-cut chicken thighs and breast (with skin), so the pieces are all the same size and I can adjust the cooking time accordingly for the breast (brown on each side for 2 minutes then remove) and thigh meat (cook for a further 3 minutes, altogether 5 minutes).

Gordon Ramsey serves it with champ,  but to keep it light I served with green beans, simmered in boiling water for 4 minutes.

3 thoughts on “Sticky Lemon Chicken – one pan, less mess!

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