february 15, 2018
This winter my perennial herbs really took a hit. After a few chilly spells, the thyme has the color and consistency of slimy sea kelp. In milder winters I have been able to harvest oregano for weeks after the first frost. This winter, all I have left is one herb — a few scraggly spears of rosemary on my plants, and the most viable went toward today’s Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken. The house needed a really comforting aroma before guests arrived, and the rosemary contributed to the illusion I had been cooking all day. In reality there is nothing easier than roasting chicken thighs. No pan sear, no fuss, just marinate for a bit in the lemon garlic rosemary magic, roast and there you have it. A simple rustic meal emboldened with the bite of pickled hot peppers, on a creamy base of whatever suits your taste.
To keep this dish paleo friendly and lower in starchy carbohydrates, substitute unsweetened pickled peppers for the peppadews, which are packed with a little sugar, and prepare a creamy base of mashed cauliflower or sweet potato. I was in a a starchy mood, so the accompanying pictures feature parmesan polenta. Add a simply dressed salad for greenery and your guests will feel as if they have dined in a Mediterranean countryside cafe.
Chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin, contribute to the sauce and deliver a moist, tender meal; you could, of course, use skin-on chicken breast in this recipe, but I wager your tastes would cross over to the dark side if you just had one bite of this dinner. Leaving the skin uncovered yields a crisp, burnished crust. For long-braised chicken dishes like Coq au Vin, I prefer to remove the skin because when covered and braised, the skin becomes flabby and soft. There are very few things I do not eat, and flabby chicken skin is one. I’m whining.
So let’s look on the bright side! No slippery skin—only good flavors here, and a meal of eight chicken thighs which can feed four to eight folks, depending on appetite. These days I am content with just a little protein, so one chicken thigh and lots of side vegetables are my choice. If rosemary isn’t your thing, any green herb will do, like thyme, tarragon or basil. Garlic + lemon + herbs = heavenly aromas no matter how you roll.
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes four to eight servings
eight bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about two large lemons)
2 large garlic cloves, zested or finely minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or other herb of choice)
8 pickled peppadew peppers, cut into halves*
coarsely ground black pepper
*to make this dish paleo-friendly, use pickled hot peppers (like cherry) packed without any sugar
- Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and rosemary in small bowl.
- Arrange chicken thighs in nonreactive (stainless steel or glass) baking dish or heavy saute pan close together, pour lemon mixture over chicken and toss well to coat.
- At room temperature, marinate chicken, turning every 15 minutes, for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees,
- Arrange thighs skin side up, scatter peppadew halves (keeping chicken skin uncovered), sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper and roast one hour without turning.
- There will be a nice, fragrant sauce surrounding the chicken thighs —spoon this over your choices of sides like parmesan polenta, rice, cauliflower rice, mashed sweet potatoes, etc.