Dinner is a challenge. It used to be fun when it was just my husband and me. I’m assuming it will be more enjoyable as the kids get a little older. Right now though, dinner is a challenge. It is a challenge because we have four little humans with many different likes and dislikes. When I stumble upon a meal that is easy to make and a hit with the whole family I make it every week. Wednesday night chicken thighs is one of those meals.
I call it Wednesday night chicken thighs for the obvious reason. I make it on Wednesdays. Why, you ask? Well, I’ve gotten into the routine of “Meatless Mondays”, “Taco Tuesdays” and “Pizza Fridays”. Thursday is either breakfast for dinner or leftovers. That leaves Wednesdays for this go-to family meal. Obviously, things come up and the meal schedule changes but I do make this meal once a week…Usually when I can’t bear to hear anyone complain about what I’m “making” them eat.
My BFF, Maggie, introduced me to this method of cooking chicken thighs. I was a chicken breast girl until Maggie turned me on to thighs. They are much more flavorful and also more affordable. I now buy organic chicken thighs in bulk whenever I am at Costco. I pull them out of our basement freezer the night before I make this meal. This is not so much a recipe but a method of cooking chicken thighs. And I promise it can not be messed up. On to the method.
Step one: Salt, pepper and flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Don’t be stingy. Add a quarter cup or so of flour to a zip lock bag. Shake the thighs in the bag with flour to coat them. You can skip the step of coating them with flour, but I wouldn’t. I’ll tell you why later.
Step two: Sear chicken thighs
Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a pan that 1) has a lid and 2) can go into the oven. Heat the oil over medium high heat and then cook the thighs in the pan with the lid off. I cook them for 4 minutes on the first side and another 3 minutes after I flip them.
Step three: De-glaze pan
Remove the chicken thighs onto a plate and turn the heat down to medium. Chop a shallot or two and saute it in the pan until soft. The bottom of the pan will look pretty burned and brown at this point. That’s ok, it’s all flavor!
Once the shallot is cooked to your liking deglaze the pan with a heavy splash of white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. I attached a video below. Don’t mind Bruce playing in the background.
Here’s where the flour on the chicken comes in. The browned flour at the bottom of the pan mixes with the wine and creates a delicious, thick sauce. If you choose not to use flour it will still be wonderful.
Step four: Add flavor and bake
Turn off the heat. Add the chicken thighs back into the pan and pour in any juices that collected on the plate. Slice a lemon and lay the slices on top of the chicken. Lay a couple sprigs of rosemary on the chicken as well. Put the lid on the pan and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Step five: Make side dishes
While the chicken is baking I throw together some sides. Usually I make brown rice and roasted broccoli. For the broccoli, I toss the florets in salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic powder and bake in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. This is what my family likes. Make any sides you like…pasta, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, zoodles, string beans, brussel sprouts, you name it.
That’s it! Take the chicken out of the oven and serve.
One more thing. The beauty of this recipe is that the only ingredients you have to use are salt, pepper and chicken thighs. Everything else can be switched out. Don’t have a shallot? Use an onion. Throw in some garlic. Throw in some ginger!
No white wine? Use chicken broth. Try apple juice. Water.
Don’t like lemon and rosemary? Use olives and thyme. Or capers. Peppers. Anything you like.
The thighs can be boneless and skinless or have bones and skin. I use boneless and skinless because that’s how the organic thighs are sold at Costco. Also, they are easier for my kids to eat. I tell you this recipe can not be messed up. Have fun!
I’d love to hear how it turned out for you, especially if you used different ingredients. Please share in the comments!