Occasionally I run across a recipe that is so foolproof and versatile…that it’s ‘where have you been all my life?’
This is one of those recipes. I haven’t actually followed the exact recipe, but I’ve done variations on it several times — the key is the technique. I will note that if your thighs are smaller, check them after 35 minutes or so.
Perfect crispy chicken thighs – season however you like, but do make sure they are DRY, even if you only pat them dry with a paper towel.
- 12 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 1 medium onion, peeled, quartered vertically and sliced 1/4-inch thick vertically*
- 1 cup peeled garlic cloves (about 40)*
- 1 lemon cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices, seeded*
- 15 fresh thyme sprigs*
- 4 (3-inch) rosemary sprigs*
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
*this is just one option from the original recipe – I’ve used sliced potatoes or winter squash under my chicken to roast a tasty side dish. Minimally, use onions and garlic.
- Dry chicken skin thoroughly with paper towels. THIS IS KEY. **
- Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread onion slices and garlic cloves in a baking dish that can hold the chicken snugly in a single layer. Scatter lemon on the onion-garlic mixture and strew with thyme and rosemary sprigs.
- Remove chicken from baking sheet and place on several layers of paper towels, skin side down. Sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Turn thighs over and season with remaining salt and pepper. Transfer to the baking dish skin side up. Use your hands to arrange the bed of onions and garlic so they’re completely under the chicken.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife point. If skin is not a deep golden brown and crispy, turn on broiler and broil chicken close to heat a few minutes to crisp and brown it.
- To serve, move chicken off the bed of onions, garlic, lemon and herbs. Discard lemon and spoon the rest of the ingredients, along with pan juices, onto a serving platter. Place chicken on top and serve.
**In the original recipe, step one is to pat chicken thighs dry and place, skin side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in refrigerator, uncovered, for 8 hours or overnight to dry skin. Remove chicken from the refrigerator at least 45 minutes before cooking. BUT, i never think to do that – original notes say to do what’s convenient. No matter what, just be sure to pat the skin dry with paper towels. You may also find the final run under the broiler unnecessary.