Baked chicken is my family’s Sunday night dinner ritual. It’s so easy, versatile and full of flavour, and nourishing for the week ahead. This simple yet delectable combination of fig, lemon, garlic and oregano has been used in Mediterranean cooking well before we knew about these ingredients’ benefits for our health. Lemons are high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for fighting inflammation, figs are a great source of fibre and garlic provides a good source of prebiotic inulin. Carvacrol, the most abundant phenol in oregano, has a bunch of benefits too, and is shown to stop the growth of several types of pathogenic gut bacteria.
1.4 kg organic chicken leg quarters 60 ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
125 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 handful oregano, coarsely chopped
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, quartered
375 ml chicken Bone Broth or
Vegetarian Broth (page 229), or store-bought stock 1 tablespoon unpasteurised apple-cider vinegar
3 ripe figs, roughly torn in half (only use if in season)
Arrange the chicken in a large, deep baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the lemon juice and zest, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture over the chicken, rubbing it into and under the skin to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 8 hours.
When ready, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/ Gas Mark 4).
Scatter the onion around the chicken. Pour in the bone broth and vinegar and drizzle with the remaining oil.
Cook, uncovered, for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through – the juices should run clear when a fork is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. If using figs, add them for the final 15 minutes of cooking.
Remove the chicken and figs (if using) from the baking dish. Place on a plate, cover and keep warm. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and simmer for 3–4 minutes, or until reduced to a sauce that thinly coats the back of a spoon.
Return the chicken and figs to the baking dish and coat in the sauce before serving.