Does back-to-school time have you humming a few bars of the weeknight dinner blues?
I get it. I know you’re tired. I know that when 5 p.m. rolls around you aren’t always feeling inspired. I know that the notion of chicken again makes you roll your eyes. How can we get excited about chicken over and over?
Just make this recipe and then see if you don’t have a little spring in your weeknight step. The bracing herbal flavour of fresh rosemary (do try and get fresh for this, as it makes a big difference)! The citrusy sharpness of the lemon zest! The tartness of the lemon juice! These simple flavours turn everyday chicken thighs into something special. Also, the quick dredge in flour and saute in a bit of oil creates a dish something between fried chicken and roasted chicken — crisp and moist.
And the choice of bone-in, skin-on thighs means you will have a great juicy chicken dinner. In fact, it’s one that is pretty hard to overcook. You can serve these right in the pan at the table (as long as everyone knows the pan is hot).
These would be great with some rice or any kind of grain to soak up some of the pan sauce you’ll have once the chicken is cooked. Round out the plate with a simple green vegetable, like sauteed Broccolini or Swiss chard, or some roasted asparagus.
ROSEMARY AND LEMON ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS
Start to finish: 45 minutes (20 minutes active)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh chives or parsley (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Wash and zest the lemons. Cut the lemons in half, then set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin from the chicken thighs. Insert a hefty pinch of the rosemary-lemon zest mixture under the skin of each thigh and rub it to coat the meat. You will use about half of the rub mixture for this.
In a shallow bowl, blend the flour with a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken thighs through the flour mixture and shake off any excess.
In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the skin starts to brown. Flip the thighs and cook for another 4 minutes or so on the bottoms, or until the bottoms start to turn golden. If you cooked the chicken in batches, fit all of the chicken back into the pan, transfer to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 165 F at the thickest part.
Squeeze the reserved lemon halves over the chicken as desired, then sprinkle the remaining lemon zest and rosemary mixture over it. Serve hot. Sprinkle with chives or parsley, if desired.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at www.themom100.com