Garlic-Oregano Chicken with Grilled Leeks and Lemon

Grilled chicken never looked (or tasted) better for dinner.

Garlic-Oregano Chicken with Grilled Leeks and Lemon
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
20 mins
Marinate Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
Servings:
4

Take a break from burgers and hot dogs: this Greek-inspired grilled chicken will be the highlight of your next barbecue. A touch more sophisticated than your typical cookout staples, our Garlic-Oregano Chicken with Grilled Leeks and Lemon is sure to impress a crowd.

A 30-minute marinade of lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper jump-starts the development of flavor in this dish right from the beginning. Rich and meaty chicken thighs (go for boneless, skinless ones) pick up tons of garlicky, citrusy flavor in the quick marinade.

Grilled leeks are the ideal, unexpected counterpart for this succulent roast chicken. Tender and savory, the leeks pick up a robust charred flavor from the grill. Pro tip: blanching the leeks first before grilling them ensures they'll be tender. Avoid cutting away too much from the root end so the halves will hold together. The perfect finishing touch? Grilled lemon halves, squeezed over the dish add brightness and a hint of smoke.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 2 lemons), divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, grated (about 1½ tsp.)

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 8 (about 2 lb. total) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 4 medium leeks

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 lemons, halved crosswise

Directions

  1. Place lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Add chicken; toss well to coat. Let marinate at room temperature, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Trim roots off leeks, leaving bases intact so leeks will hold together when halved. Trim and discard dark green tops from leeks; cut in half lengthwise. Rinse well under running water, separating leaves without removing them from the base. Add leeks to boiling water, and cook until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Plunge into a bowl filled with ice water; drain well, and pat dry.

  3. Stir together melted butter and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a small bowl. Brush generously over both sides of leeks. Place leeks, chicken, and lemon halves, cut side down, on oiled grates. Cover grill. Grill leeks, covered, until well marked and tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Grill lemons, covered, until well marked on cut sides, about 5 minutes. Grill chicken, covered, until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thighs registers 165°F, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill. Sprinkle chicken and leeks evenly with remaining ¾ teaspoon salt.

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