Classic Dishes of Provence: Poulet aux Senteurs de Provence

Poulet aux Senteurs de Provence

(Chicken with Lemon, Basil & Garlic)

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

2 small (and preferably free-range) corn-fed chickens;

2 tablespoons olive oil;

2 lemons;

2 large cloves garlic;

1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence;

1 bunch fresh basil;

salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Peel and crush the garlic. Squeeze the juice from the lemons.

Cut each chicken into 8 serving pieces: 2 legs, each separated into thigh and drumstick; and 2 breasts, each cut in half.

Put all the pieces in a large bowl or glass/ earthenware dish and add the olive oil, dried herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix the pieces of chicken well in the marinade and leave for at least one hour (but longer is best).

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/ 375F/ Gas Mark 5.

Heat a solid, ridged cast-iron grill pan. There is probably no need to add any additional oil. Lay the chicken pieces in the pan, skin side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. The skin should be golden-brown, even perhaps scorched a bit here and there.

You will certainly have to cook the chicken pieces in 2 or 3 batches.

As the pieces complete this preliminary cooking time, transfer them to a roasting tin in the pre-heated oven. Allow them to finish cooking until the juices from the thighs run clear. This should take about another 15-20 minutes or so.

When all the pieces are cooked, dish them up on a large serving platter. Scatter over some coarse sea salt and some finely shredded basil leaves.