Lemon Oregano Chicken

I had a friend who loved all things Greece. She had this dish first on a Mediterranean shore and is dish she cooked fairly often. It was something for her home and friends plus it showed up on her restaurant’s menu as a sandwich. She would most often use the breast meat, but I prefer the thigh for it’s higher fat content and flavor. She is no longer with us but I think of her when I eat this dish.

If you can find boneless thigh meat you can save a bit of trouble but you will pay the higher price. I usually buy family packs of thighs, poach some, and make some like this. Your first step is to debone the meat. It is easier than you think, just get some experience and you will never buy a boneless piece of chicken again.

A verbal description is lacking, but it goes like this.

Wait a minute, I just read my feeble description of deboning a chicken thigh and decided it was sorely lacking. Please take a look at any number of online videos for this information. No one should be injured by a piece of chicken. It is actually very easy. Writing on a page though is unlikely to get you there.

Once you have your boneless pieces, it is very helpful to flatten them a bit. Unlike the breast, the thigh has a number of muscle groups and is considerably thicker in areas. You can use a meat mallet or just the side of your fist. All you are trying to do is even things out a bit so it cooks more evenly. Use a zip lock bag or a couple pieces of cling film to avoid a splatter of raw chicken across the kitchen.

Choose a glass or plastic container. Metal is not good for this marinade since the acid in the lemon juice can end up with a metallic taste. I use a 1/9th size plastic restaurant pan with a lid. For two pieces of chicken, I use perhaps ¼ cup of olive oil, a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, half a teaspoon of salt, several grinds of fresh black pepper, a pinch of chili flakes, and a smashed crushed clove of garlic. Give it a little mix and add chicken, moving the chicken around to coat all sides. Let it marinade it the fridge for an hour or so. Many feel that leaving the chicken in the marinade longer toughens the meat but I have not observed this. I usually cook one piece for dinner and put the rest into individual zip bags to freeze for later.

To cook, heat a skillet on medium high heat and have a splatter screen ready. Put chicken skin side down and cook for about 5 or 6 minutes. Turn the chicken and let cook for about one minute before putting into a 350° preheated oven to finish for another 7 minutes depending on thickness of the meat. Cook to your taste, I like mine just barely done. The skin may not get entirely crispy because of the excess olive oil so you may decide to take it off before the marinade.

If you want to make a meal of it, remove chicken from skillet to another dish to finish in oven. Take a wedge of green cabbage sliced medium fine and toss into the hot skillet. Add salt, fresh ground pepper and a pinch of chili flake. Let the cabbage cook on medium high for perhaps a minute or two so it releases some moisture. Use a spatula to scrape the fond from the pan and mix with the cabbage. If you like crispy veg like me, it will be done when the chicken comes out of the oven. Slice chicken and place atop a mound of cabbage with a side of white rice of your choice.

This Lemon Oregano Chicken makes a great hot or cold sandwich or to top a salad.

Lemon Oregano Chicken


  • 2 pieces of boneless chicken thigh
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tblsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes if you like


  • Skin on or off, your choice
  • Add oil, lemon juice and spices to plastic or glass container smaller than one of your chicken pieces
  • Mix it up
  • Add chicken and turn several times to coat well
  • Marinade at least an hour in fridge up to overnight
  • Cook in skillet over medium high heat 5 or 6 minutes skin side down
  • Flip chicken over and cook 2 minutes
  • Finish in preheated 350° oven for 7 minutes or to your taste
  • Serve with sauteed or steamed cabbage and rice

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