Growing up, we always ate chicken breasts. Dry, tasteless chicken breasts. No matter how hard you tried to cook them, they were just…blah. Around the same time, I swore I hated dark poultry meat. Gross, I insisted. Time marched on. Finally, well into my 30’s, I started seeing recipes for chicken thigh-based dishes in cookbooks, magazines, and internet searches. They promised it would be good and urged me to give it a try. Finally, I gave in and tried a few. Cue the epiphany. Chicken thighs may as well be an entirely different animal. Tender and rich with flavor, they never seemed to get dry and tasteless. It also didn’t hurt that thighs were about half the price of breast. Chicken thighs have come a long way since my rural Midwestern formative years, and they’re plentiful in the market, and it’s a good thing. They make yummy meals.
This dish is easily thrown together on a sheet pan. The oven and tomato juices and bacon fat do all the work. The result is sweet, smokey with just the right touch of acid and freshness of herbs. Delicious.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Tomatoes & Herbs
- Sheet Pan
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- kosher salt and white pepper
- 1 head garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced divided
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp dried turkish oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pint multi-colored grape tomatoes halved
- 2 oz thick-cut bacon cut in 1/4" lardons
- 1 handful roughly chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, chervil, etc.)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and spread on a rimmed sheet pan.
- Separate the garlic cloves from the head. Set two aside. Smash the remaining cloves with a side of a knife and pull off the peels and set aside.
- Grate the reserved two cloves of garlic into a small bowl. Add the olive oil, juice of ½ the lemon, paprika, oregano, and cumin. Mix well, then pour over the chicken, rubbing it onto both sides.
- Spread the tomatoes and garlic around the chicken, season with salt, and sprinkle lightly with olive oil. Scatter bacon lardons on top of the tomatoes.
- Roast 30-35 minutes until the chicken is tender, stirring the tomatoes and bacon after 15 minutes without disturbing the chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, and stir together the roasted tomatoes, garlic and bacon, scraping up all the brown caramelized bits. Add the remaining juice of ½ lemon. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary
- Plate chicken and spoon the tomato garlic sauce over the top. Garnish with mixed chopped herbs.