braised chicken in a cast iron pan with garlic, potatoes, olives

Weeknight Mediterranean Cast Iron Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are my new love for tasty, easy, & cost effective dinners for the family. This is a one dish meal that is easy to through together on a weeknight (although it does take a little while in the oven, so if you need fast, maybe save it for the weekend). And this one is so tasty, that I kept the leftovers for myself the next day!

You don’t have to do it in a cast iron skillet if you don’t have one, but really, you should put one on your list for your next gift giving occasion- this is the one i have (the 12 in), and I love it.  If you don’t, then use a cast iron dutch oven, or the heaviest oven proof skillet you have.   Worse case, if you don’t have an oven proof pan that works on the top of the stove, you’ll have to transfer to a large casserole for the oven.

I had a pack of thighs, and needed a dinner with what I had in the pantry, so I went looking for inspiration. I found a thigh recipe on food52 that looked like a good starting point (which was actually her take on another recipe).  So based on both of those, here’s my take.  If you want to go more paleo or keto or low carb, sub out the potatoes for a veggie that fits your diet style.

Weeknight Mediterranean Cast Iron Chicken Thighs, with Potatoes, Garlic & Olives

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • Olive oil
  • ~ 1/2 cup green olives (I happened to have ones stuffed with almonds in my fridge, but use what you have), sliced.
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced in rounds
  • 5 large (or more if small) cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin.
  • Heaping tablespoon of capers (I love capers!)
  • Oregano
  • S&P
  • splash lemon juice (or rice vinegar)
  • Crusty bread (optional, serving suggestion)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350degrees.

Place enough olive oil in your skillet to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.  Heat to med/high.

Chicken:  Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels.  If you have time, stick the chicken uncovered in the fridge for an hour prior. Salt and pepper liberally on both sides.
Place chicken skin side down in the hot iron skillet – leave for 7-8 minutes without touching it, until the skin is golden brown.  Flip, add your garlic cloves in the space between the chicken thighs, and brown the other side for about 3 minutes.   Remove chicken and garlic and set aside.

Veg: Add your onions to the pan cook until the onions are softened.  Toss in your thinly sliced potatoes, bell pepper, olives, and capers.  Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper and toss to combine, so the oils in the pan coat everything.  Add a splash of lemon juice or wine or rice vinegar. Turn off the heat

Return your chicken and garlic cloves to the pan and place uncovered in your hot oven.  Cooking time will vary based on the size of your thighs – I did about 45 minutes, checking after 40 minutes.   Tell your family not to bother you, you’re cooking, as you read a book and sip a glass of wine!

Spoon potato mixture on to each plate, top with a chicken thigh.  Serve with crusty bread (the onions and the garlic will be soft and spreadable…yum!).

Options:

You can obviously use any mix of veggies for this – I think doing it again I might add more potatoes (because they were sooo good) or maybe cauliflower or other veg that is good roasted, to help soak up all the juices.

This could easily be doubled or tripled for a dinner with friends, and it doesn’t require spending all night in the kitchen.  Just brown & prep everything early, then pop it in the oven while you go enjoy your guests.

Hope you enjoy!

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