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Chicken with a lemon-honey Greek yoghurt dressing

Chicken with a lemon-honey Greek yoghurt dressing
Hot & cold: Tony Jackman’s Greek-style chicken with a Greek-style yoghurt dressing with honey, lemon and oregano. May 2024. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

The addition of a little honey to a classy Greek-style yoghurt product, which I also mixed with lemon and fresh oregano to make a refreshing sauce, added a delightful extra element to a satisfying dish.

In this peculiar job that I love so much, occasionally something arrives by courier. A product of one kind or another that somebody hopes I will write about. It doesn’t necessarily follow that I will do so. I’ve received strangely flavoured products that no sane person would consume. Bizarrely flavoured kiddies’ drinks. And the most peculiar custards.

This only happens once in a while, every few months or so. Some of the things that pitch up are passable, others awful, but now and then there’s something really nice. I only write about a product if it genuinely impresses me. 

The “Lancewood ‘Greek Delight’ Greek-style double cream plain yoghurt” that arrived the other day (that’s its full name on the tub) is a product that I have no problem recommending because it is exactly what it says on the packaging (but for two unnecessary words). It has a certain sourness so it can be used as a substitute for sour cream. It is very thick, lusciously so, and madly creamy. (It’s a pity about the two “Greeks” in the name; they might want to rethink that. And that’s the only criticism I can think of. Just for balance, you understand.)

I quickly put it to work, planned a recipe around it, and it did its job beautifully. I used it in two ways: first to marinate the chicken, and then some of it was turned into a dressing. 

To my surprise, it was an extra element that truly rounded off the flavour profile of the yoghurt dressing. I have often mixed yoghurt with lemon and herbs before (as well as fresh garlic), but had never thought to add honey as well. Once added, it rounded off something of an umami flavour package.

Also in the box had been the smallest bottle of honey you ever saw. It was Goldcrest, and on investigation I found that it claims to be “100% natural and carefully sourced”. It is described as ‘pure’ on the label but I couldn’t find ‘raw’ anywhere. One has to be so careful around honey these days; best advice is to look for “raw” and also for a name and cellphone number of its producer on the label. Honey has become a puzzle, a question mark.

So I used some of that in the yoghurt sauce too, along with lemon and fresh oregano. And that makes a splendid, cool sauce for hot chicken. Such a lovely marriage: the zesty lemon, the herbiness of the oregano, the very Greek tang of the yoghurt with its slightly (and pleasantly) sour edge, and a subtle touch of sweetness from the honey.

But first, I made a marinade for chicken pieces and gave that four hours of marination. There’s lots of lemon juice in the marinade, and some honey too. It needs both, they work well together. You can of course use another yoghurt, but I do think they have produced a yoghurt that possibly beats the market.

Tony’s chicken with a lemon-honey Greek yoghurt dressing

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

8 thigh and leg chicken portions (nice fat ones, not scrawny)

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper for the chicken

For the marinade:

250 ml Lancewood ‘Greek Delight’ Greek-style double cream plain yoghurt

Juice of 3 lemons

2 Tbsp chopped oregano

3 Tbsp runny raw honey

Salt

Black pepper

For the yoghurt dressing:

125 ml yoghurt

2 Tbsp raw honey

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Salt

Black pepper

Method

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a container large enough to hold all the chicken. Dunk the chicken portions in it, making sure that all parts of the bird are well covered with marinade. Marinate for at least four hours, or overnight.

When it’s time to cook them, scrape off excess yoghurt marinade. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Oil an oven dish. Place the chicken pieces in and make sure they’re oiled on both sides. Put the thighs skin side down at first, the drumsticks any way you like.

Bake at 200℃ for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over after the first 15 minutes so that the thighs are skin-up for the rest of the bake. Check for no pinkness at the bone.

Mix the yoghurt dressing ingredients together and run them through a food processor (or use a stick blender) until smooth. 

I served them with lemony potatoes. Garnish with lemon and fresh oregano, and the yoghurt dressing of course. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.

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