Death Row Chicken

July 21st, 2008 by Melina

Aka Greek Chicken With Lemon, Oregano and Garlic

(You’re probably wondering how Death Row Chicken got its name.  I’ll get to that.  I promise.  Just give me a sec.)

Whenever I come to the East Bay to visit my mom, she knows that I expect Death Row Chicken.  I love to cook and I cook a lot when I’m here because I love having access to a real, modern, non New York kitchen.

But Death Row Chicken is my mother’s domain and maternal responsibility.  I’ll help her peel potatoes and chop garlic, but the rest of it’s up to her.

Oregano from the gardenI don’t cook any meat in my apartment because I keep kosher and I don’t have the room or the patience to deal with two sets of dishes.  It’s easier to just have dairy dishes.  Besides, kosher meat is expensive.  So chicken is an extra special treat.

Still wondering why it’s called Death Row Chicken?  No, it’s not a Greek expression, but good guess.  And no, it has nothing to do with the treatment of chickens. Please don’t go calling any animal rights agencies.

It’s just a result of my morbid mind.

You see, years ago, during a visit to CA, a batch of my mother’s Greek chicken turned out particularly well. “How is it?” she naturally wanted to know.

I took a bite of the moist, flavorful chicken.  “If I were on death row,” I said, “I’d totally request –”

At which point my mother cut me off with her chorus of “G-d forbids” and “Bite your tongues.”  But, eventually her pride began to outweigh her horror at my disturbing comment and she began to laugh. “That’s the ultimate compliment for a chef,” she said.

Hence the name Death Row Chicken.

My mother tells this story to everybody she makes the dish for, and then adds, “The chicken is just like my daughter.  Greek and kosher.”

I love being compared to a chicken.  In fact, I wonder why Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 doesn’t read, “Shall I compare thee to a chicken?”

Currently, my mother is in the kitchen preparing two Chickens a la Death Row.  One of the chickens is for my Uncle Steve, who you will hear about soon.  Outside, it’s 55 degrees and foggy.  Inside, the heavenly smells of lemons (from our very own lemon tree), oregano (also from the garden) and garlic are filling the kitchen.  The wine is open and ready.

Although it’s sometimes hard to believe, I’m technically an adult.  I’m aware of that.  But it’s so great being home!

We wish we could have you all over to eat with us!  But all I can do is post the recipe and some pictures.


Click here for the recipe!

Posted in California Dreamin', Mel's Favorite Posts, Recipes

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