Dinner Tonight: Jacques Pépin's Spicy Ginger and Lemon Chicken Recipe

Dinner Tonight

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Dinner Tonight: Jacques P\u00e9pin's Spicy Ginger and Lemon Chicken Recipe

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Jacques Pépin knows his way with chicken. Whether it's his crisp-skinned thigh recipe or the fun split-roasted chicken from his show, More Fast Food My Way, I'd trust him with any bird I brought home.

Which may explain why I jumped at this recipe from Food and Wine before really reading the directions—it seemed destined for success.

Sautéed first, then braised, it featured no less than three kinds of citrus and loads of spice. I was expecting something to knock me over with flavor. What else would you expect from a dish called spicy ginger and lemon chicken? But this dish has other plans.

It doesn't smack you over the head with flavor. Instead, it's just pleasantly fragrant and calming, the kind of competent dish that most people would be thrilled to have on any giving weekday night.

But it wasn't nearly as good as that crisp-skinned chicken thigh recipe I dream about at night, and for that reason along I'm a little disappointed. Ah well. It was delicious nonetheless.

  • Yield:2


  • 2 chicken legs, skin removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of dried thyme leaves
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 strips lemon zest
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 2 teapsoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sweet apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


  1. 1.

    Mix together the salt, chili powder, ground cumin, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, and flour in a bowl. Coat the chicken legs in this mixture.

  2. 2.

    Pour the olive oil into a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

  3. 3.

    Add the lemon zest, orange zest, fresh ginger, garlic, and sweet apple cider. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits, and bring this to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook for 15 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Serve the chicken with the sauce, along some green vegetables or maybe some rice. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.