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When Jack and I got married almost 10 years ago, we spent our honeymoon in Tuscany on a week-long culinary vacation! After a morning of cooking classes, we enjoyed exploring the local towns and cities after lunch. It was on those explorations that we discovered limoncello – a citrus-based lemon liqueur that is sometimes referred to as the national drink of Italy!
Limoncello is often served as a palate cleanser or after dinner drink and it’s widely available – in fact, we were surprised to find limoncello sold at the alimentari (or grocery store) right there on the shelf among the other beverages for sale, and it cost the equivalent of just a few US dollars. (Much less expensive than buying it at home!) So needless to say, we found ourselves buying a bottle (or two) to bring back to our hotel, and to this day, Jack and I are both quite fond of limoncello – both for its delicious flavor as well as the happy memories we have of our honeymoon!
Although limoncello is probably most often consumed as a beverage – it’s also a great addition to savory dishes and our Braised Chicken Limoncello with Green Beans is a delicious example! Pieces of skin-on chicken were first marinated in a mix of limoncello, sprigs of fresh thyme, and some wedges of fresh lemon. Then the chicken was braised in a mixture of chicken stock and the leftover limoncello marinade.
Approximately fifteen minutes before the chicken is done braising, we added some fresh green beans to the pot and cooked them until just tender. Finally, the braised chicken limoncello with green beans was served over some simple cooked white rice – and a fantastic dinner is ready!
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- 1 whole chicken
For the Chicken Stock
- Back, neck and wing tips
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ bunch parsley
- 1 medium onion, cut in half
- 1 carrot, cut into four pieces
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Marinade
- 1 cup limoncello
- ½ bunch fresh thyme, tied with twine
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
For the Remainder of the Dish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- Cooked white rice, for serving
To Prepare the Stock
- Remove back and place into a medium pot with neck and wing tips. Cover with water and add celery, garlic, parsley, onion, carrot, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, cover partially and simmer two hours. Remove cover and reduce to one cup. Or freeze back, neck and wing tips for some other use and use canned chicken stock. 1 cup of chicken stock is needed for this recipe.
To Marinate the Chicken
- The night before or six hours before cooking, cut chicken into eight pieces (two drum sticks, two thighs and four breast pieces) Place in zip lock bag with limoncello, thyme and lemon wedges.
- minutes before service, drain and reserve marinade, thyme and lemon wedges. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
To Cook the Chicken
- In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, melt butter with oil over medium high heat.
- Sear chicken on all sides in two batches. Each batch should take 8-10 minutes. When second batch is done, remove to a platter and drain the fat left in the pan to a small bowl.
- Place the chicken pieces back in along with the one cup of chicken stock and the marinade including thyme and lemon wedges.
- Bring to a boil and slowly simmer covered for 25 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking mix flour into bowl with reserved fat.
- Add butter and flour mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Add the green beans on top of chicken and push down to submerge. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until beans are tender.
- Remove chicken and beans to a platter. Pour sauce through a strainer over chicken and beans or serve strained sauce on the side. Finally sprinkle the chopped fresh basil over the entire dish.
- Serve with cooked white rice.
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