Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}While many of my food memories of my childhood in Texas revolve around Tex-Mex and barbecue, I also have a place in my heart for Lebanese food. My dad began going to a Lebanese restaurant called Hedary’s in the 1970s and, over time, got my mom, my sisters, and myself hooked on their mezze, lahem meshwi, and steaming hot pillows of fresh pita. And tabouleh. And the rice pudding. And the sodas that came in short, round glass bottles.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}For years, Hedary’s (“heh-dah-rees”) was our restaurant of choice for weekend dinners and special occasions alike, and as we grew up and moved away, a must-go whenever one (or all) of us came back to Fort Worth to visit. That is, until they closed the original location near my parents’ neighborhood a couple years back.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Our unanimous family-favorite Hedary’s entree was Frarej, a roast chicken dish made with tons of lemon and garlic and served with tender potatoes, tomatoes and onions. It somehow towed the line between light and bright and deeply comforting and was always the centerpiece of our extensive order.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej appears to be specific to the Hedary family—I’ve never seen it on any other Lebanese menu, the owners of my beloved Sahadi’s have never heard of it (nor have my Lebanese friends), and a quick internet search turns up only recipes by people like me who are trying to recapture the magic of this dish from a now-closed restaurant in a strip mall in Fort Worth, Texas.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}My older sister started making a version Frarej at home when she was in graduate school and has honed it over the years. She gave me her recipe when I wanted to impress a new boyfriend* a few years ago and since then, I have slowly made adjustments—not many though—until I achieved a Frarej I could make and eat any day of the week.

*I’m the sort of person who will try to seduce you with garlic. This is why I’m single. Although, to be fair, that boyfriend stuck around for a few years so…?Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Start by chopping (or pressing) 8-10 cloves of fresh garlic. Mix that with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pour it all over a bunch of sliced Yukon gold potatoes and onion wedges.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Let that roast for 15 minutes at 500F (yes, 500F) before stirring in some tomato wedges and topping it all off with some bone-in skin-on chicken thighs that you’ve given the lightest coating of olive oil. Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Throw that back in a 500F oven (again, yes, that hot) and let it go for 45 minutes, occasionally spooning accumulated liquid over the chicken, but otherwise leaving it alone. You’ll know it’s ready when the chicken is gorgeous and golden and the potatoes are tender. Your kitchen should also smell ahhh-mazing. Lemony and garlicky and chickeny—amazing.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej will be good the day it’s made—what could possibly be bad about juicy roast chicken, lemony potatoes, sweet onions and tangy tomatoes?—but the leftovers are where it’s at. I turned down a dinner invitation a couple weeks ago just because I wanted to eat the Frarej leftovers* in my fridge. The vegetables absorb all the lemony, chickeny fattiness and are just so…effing…delicious.

*This is actually why I’m single.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}
inspired by Hedary’s Restaurant, adapted from E1’s recipe
makes 4-6 servings

2 small Spanish onions, sliced into 8 wedges each
1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in quarters
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 large lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil + more for coating chicken
8-10 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 pounds skin-on chicken thighs (about 6-8 thighs)
4 large or 5-6 small Roma tomatoes, sliced in quarters
chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 500F.

Toss onions and potatoes together on a large rimmed sheet pan.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a liquid measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Stir together with a fork (it won’t emulsify). Pour mixture over potatoes and onions and toss together with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes.

Pat chicken thighs dry. Rub them all over with olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Remove onions and potatoes from the oven. Stir in tomato wedges. Carefully nestle chicken thighs over the top.

Roast for 40-45 minutes, spooning a little of the accumulated liquid over chicken every 15 minutes. It’s ready when chicken is golden and cooked through, and vegetables are tender and browning in places. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will get more and more delicious as time goes on.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}


20 thoughts on “Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

      1. Nidal Boughannam

        That is awesome! I am Lebanese, I grow up on this dish. Let me add Farouj is a young chicken, Frerej is the plural or bunch of young chicken, that is where the name of the dish comes from. So again congratulation, you are spot on the recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn} Post author

      Thanks, that’s great to know! I know the owners are from the Hedary family, so that makes some sense. I didn’t notice Frarej on Byblos’s menu the last time I was there, but I will definitely give it another look when I am in Fort Worth at Christmas.


    2. Hanging On A Frequency

      Just had it tonight! I live in Dallas but grew up in Fort Worth, and the Hedary’s on Camp Bowie (RIP) was always our go-to for birthdays and holidays, or any other excuse we could think of to go. My late mom, who was also Lebanese, knew the kids through JP Elder Middle School, and tonight I was craving some home cooking, so for Mother’s Day, I dialed in a big ol’ curbside order in her honor, and drove the 35 miles over to Byblos in FW to pick it up. Wish I could include a picture of the frarej, which was incredible, along with the rest of the goodies, but am grateful to have found your recipe. Thank you! Looking forward to making this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn} Post author

        I am so glad you were able to get your fix at Byblos! Sounds like a very worthwhile 70 mile round-trip.

        My mom requested Frarej for her Mother’s Day dinner yesterday, and while I was not there to make it, I was really happy that my little sister was able to make this version for her.

        Absolutely loving all the stories and connections people have with Hedary’s and this dish. Thank you for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Casey Borgers

    Thank you for reverse engineering Hedary’s Frarej. I grew up across Camp Bowie from Hedary’s. We went there my whole life. I could never get enough of the Frarej. I even took the youngest Hedary on a couple of dates. This will be my next cooking adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Casey Borgers

        You nailed it! Y’all are miracle workers. I was reluctant to add the onions. Don’t remember them being in the dish but it was great. And easy. And cheap. And you’re right about the leftovers. There was one thigh left and a few bites of potatoes that I got to save for myself. I even drank what was left of the sauce when nobody was looking.


  2. Joanne and Don Davis in Santa Fe

    About ten yrs ago we were in Ft Worth just looking for any restaurant . We discovered Chicken Frarej in a strip mall and it was our go to special . My wife found the recipe from the restaurant on line. She lost it a few yrs ago and I’ve tried many times to find it until I struck gold today. Unfortunately she has severe memory problems but somehow between the two of us we will give it a go. It is one of those “tastes” that one will never forget. Many thanks for your perseverance in
    making this gem available. We will always think of you for adding a special pleasure to our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Damian Peters

        From Lebanese parents, I never knew how to replicate this dish (or even its name) that we enjoyed as kids, after both my parents passed on. Now I have it ! Thankyou ! Here in New Zealand, it is the kind of dish that I know everyone will love when I take it to gatherings as Lebanese cuisine is very strong and popular here. Had you produced this on a dinner date, I probably would have proposed to you !

        Liked by 1 person

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