Pollo con Ajo y Limón

pollo con ajo y limón

Chicken with garlic and lemon is a popular dish in many countries and definitely Spain, which produces the largest amount of garlic in Europe and the 6th largest amount in the world. Spain doesn’t produce quite as many lemons globally, but it is, similarly, Europe’s largest producer. This is a fairly simple dish, the marinade is easy and once the bird goes into the oven, it can look after itself – no basting required.

pasta de ajo

Mash a whole (peeled) head of garlic, with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to make a paste. I find it easier to chop the garlic a bit first.


the juice of 1 lemon
50ml extra virgin olive oil
a level teaspoon thyme leaves
a whole head of garlic turned to paste with a mortar and pestle
a pinch of sea salt and a few turns of ground black pepper


Mix the garlic with the juice of a lemon, 50ml olive oil, a level teaspoon of thyme and some sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Lemon and Garlic Chicken:

1 medium (about 3lb) chicken (spatchcocked), or chicken legs and thighs
1 medium onion (sliced)
a few slices of lemon
a handful of black olives
1/2 pint chicken stock
parsley to serve

Spatchcock the chicken. Lay it breast down and push down hard until you hear a crack.
Snip out the backbone with some strong kitchen scissors and lay the bird out flat. There’s no need for skewers unless cooking on a barbecue.


Spread the marinade over the chicken – inside and out. Allow to rest for 2 hours – if the weather is moderate it doesn’t need to be in the fridge, but if it’s hot (above 20º C), or you want to leave it longer, make sure it’s in the fridge. Do use a non reactive dish – not metal! This doesn’t need a long marination (lemon cures meat and chicken isn’t exactly tough to start with), it’s just to add flavour. Be careful not to put a cold ceramic dish (from the fridge) into a hot oven – it will crack!


Lift the chicken out of the cooking dish, pour any residual marinade into a jug and lay the sliced onion on the bottom.

caldo de pollo

Pour on 1/2 pint of chicken stock.

listo para cocinar

Return the chicken to the baking dish, above the onion. Pour the marinade from the jug, back on top of the bird. Place a few lemon slices on the chicken and sprinkle on a handful of black olives. Cook in a preheated oven at 220º C for one hour. Rest the chicken for 20 – 30 minutes (in foil) before carving.


Sprinkle with parsley and do squeeze on a little more fresh lemon juice.

salsa de limón

Make a gravy with the juices at the bottom of the pan, while the chicken rests.

patatas asadas

Serve with the onions, roast potatoes (which can be cooked in the oven at the same time) and seasonal vegetables. I recommend drinking a glass or two of El Pollo Alegre, a white wine made with Zalema grapes from D.O Condado de Huelva.

This is also a perfect barbecue dish, which should be served with allioli.

About Mad Dog

This entry was posted in Drink, Food, Meat, Recipes, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Pollo con Ajo y Limón

  1. Eha says:

    Roaring with laughter naturally – it is mid-winter here . . . today’s top temperature should be around 21 C, we are in our winter woollies and I have two heaters on . . . honest injun 🙂 ! Mad – ‘hot’ begins in the upper thirties/low forties surely ?! Love your chicken, do it often . . . shall remember to add some black olives next time around . . . we both seem to like the thyme ! As not much entertaining going on at the moment I find organic Maryland pieces or thighs/legs easiest to deal with . . . make a triple portion ready for busy days . . . hope you are well . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha – I distinctly remember being in Melbourne, at the beginning a December (a few years ago) and it was bloody freezing! But it was boiling in Alice Springs and Darwin a few weeks later! …and I’ve been skiing in the Blue Mountains 😉 It was about 22º C and cloudy in London today – not exactly summer – it feels quite autumnal in the mornings.

      • Eha says:

        Oh, Melbourne does not count !!! It always comes up in the records as one of THE cities in the world to live but is well known for its ‘four seasons a day’ weather patterns ! Glad you know us so well But methinks you have been skiing south of us in the Alps and surely not the Blue Mountains . . . that is just NW of me and gets 1-2 dustings of snow a year ?!

  2. Ruth says:

    This dish looks delicious. I’d never heard the term “spatchcocked” before snd had to look it up. Catching up on blog reading and so good to see you.

  3. Karen says:

    My kind of meal, simple but oh so flavorful.

  4. This sounds delicious, Mad Dog! We use a similar marinade for grilling chicken (albeit with much less garlic!) and I’m curious to try it oven roasted. I just wonder if I can find El Pollo Alegre in these parts. Love that name!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.