Growing up, on Sundays my family always made dinner together – if it was warm outside we’d fire up the grill, or we’d roast a chicken and throw together sides depending on what seasonal veggies my parents were growing in the garden, and a delicious baguette like the Acme sourdough batard always had a place on the table as well. I still look forward to our Sunday dinner ritual whenever I take a trip home, it’s the absolute best! This recipe for perfectly roasted chicken thighs reminds me of those delicious family dinners. It’s unfussy, and gets an incredibly flavorful dinner on the table is less than an hour – perfect for everything from a quick weeknight meal to an impressive dish to serve to friends. I like to serve this with a simple side salad and crusty bread, but the chicken itself is a one-pan dish, which is hard to beat! This chicken also keeps very well, and would be great to make a big batch ahead to have for lunches with some greens throughout the week.
This recipe works because you sear the chicken thighs in the pan skin side down to get super crispy skin on top first, and then finish cooking them in the oven with a little bit of broth on the bottom of the pan to braise, which makes them tender and juicy. As a note, you’ll want to ensure that you only pour enough liquid into the pan so the bottom part of the chicken is covered, not the top – you want to keep the top perfectly seared and crispy. Additionally, the best way to tell when chicken is completely cooked and safe to eat is by using a meat thermometer.
- 2 and ½ Lbs of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 5 individual thighs)
- 2 Teaspoons of finely chopped thyme
- 2 Teaspoons of finely chopped rosemary
- 2 and ½ Teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest (from 2 small lemons or one large lemon)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ Yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Lemon slices (use the same lemon that you zested)
- Up to ¾ cups of chicken broth
- 4-5 Cloves of garlic
- Preheat oven to 400* F.
- In a small bowl, combine the finely chopped thyme and rosemary, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper. Mix together to incorporate all of the ingredients. Use at least half of the mixture to stuff under the chicken thigh skin, and rub the rest all over the tops of the chicken skin. Season with a few more generous pinches of salt and pepper.
- In a 10" or 12" cast iron skillet, warm the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once the pan is really hot, place the chicken, skin side down in the skillet and sear until the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
- Once the skin-side of the thighs are seared, remove the chicken from the pan, and drain some of the fat out. Scatter the sliced onions, lemon slices, and garlic cloves in the pan. Place the chicken skin-side UP on top of the onions/lemons/garlic.
- Gradually pour chicken broth in the skillet so it just submerges the bottom of the chicken thighs, you might not need all ¾ cups of the broth depending on the size of your pan, so pour slowly, making sure you keep the crispy skin above the liquid.
- Finish cooking the chicken in your preheated oven, about 20-25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers at 165* F. Remove from oven, and let the chicken rest in the skillet for 5 minutes before serving. You could toss some greens with a simple vinaigrette and toast up some baguette slices while the chicken is roasting, or simply on it's own. Enjoy!