My mother never cooked with herbs. She kept dried parsley in a little tin and always had garlic powder and other seasonings, but not fresh herbs. It wasn’t a part of her 1960s kitchen. Daddy grew everything he enjoyed eating, so I guess herbs weren’t important to him either!
Rosemary is native to the dry Mediterranean. I first saw giant rosemary plants in my sister’s California neighborhood and could believe how big the plants grew in that climate. Of course, here in humid Southern Illinois, we have to work at making the plants grow to that size. Some folks do, but I’m never successful at that!
The early history of the herb is interesting. Garlands of the herb were worn by early Greeks and Romans to improve their memory. Charlemagne grew the herb in his royal gardens. Napoleon used a cologne that was steeped with rosemary. Rosemary is a symbol of loyalty, love and happiness. There is a legend that says that the rosemary flower was originally white. It changed to blue with the Virgin Mary draped her shawl on the plant when resting during the Flight to Egypt.
The other ingredients in this recipe that were not a part of my mother’s kitchen during my favorite vintage period … the 1950s and 60s … are lemons. Lemons, citrus in general, were expensive. When a bag of lemons came to our house, it ended up in fresh squeezed lemonade. That is a topic for another post! Mother made a wonderful lemon meringue pie, but she used the box mix for the filling! I don’t like those made any other way!
According to foodtimeline.org, lemons originated in northern India. Lemons didn’t grow in the Mediterranean until the end of the first century. The Romans discovered a direct sea route from the Red Sea to India. The Arabs get the credit for spreading the lemon through the Mediterranean region and to China through the trade routes. Columbus carried lemons to the New World.
A few hundred years later in the United States, in a journal article written by Dr. Frank McCoy in 1928, other uses for lemons are detailed. According to McCoy, women were especially concerned about their beauty during this time! They used lemon juice on their hands after washing dishes. The used lemon juice on their hair after washing it. People were encouraged to carry bottles of lemon juice when traveling to areas where fresh citrus might not be available. We had already learned how important lemons were from a health standpoint.
Rosemary Lemon Chicken
The recipe I’m sharing today is so good. You’ll be out of the kitchen within 30 minutes, and then you’ll just enjoy the aromas coming from the kitchen! It is a crockpot recipe!
I used bone in chicken pieces (with skin) that I'd already cut up and frozen ... and thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Dredge the chicken in a light coating of flour and pan fry it in a little olive oil ... turning it one time ... and frying it just long enough to put some color on the skin. Place each piece in the crock pot and try to make a single layer. I drizzled a couple Tablespoons of the pan juices/oil over the meat, ground a generous amount of white pepper over the meat, then topped each piece of chicken with a slice of lemon and tossed in several sprigs of Rosemary. Add a cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the pot ... cover the crockpot and turn it on high. This usually takes about 3 hours, depending upon the size of the pieces. I used a whole chicken this time, but I frequently make this with all breasts or all thighs.
The sauce remaining in the crock pot is perfect to serve over rice, noodles or even mashed potatoes. It also makes a really good base for lemon chicken soup, so mine went right to the freezer for a snowy day that I know is in my future!
The other thing that I love about this chicken is that it makes really good chicken salad for sandwiches. The kick of lemon makes it exceptional! Use your favorite recipe!
This is a part of my 2020 Vintage Vegetables project. I’ll also be sharing with a couple blog parties, so check out my sidebar list. Enjoy!