So recently, I veered from my rut and went for the chicken thighs in the butcher case. Thighs - with the skin! I had a hankering for something juicy, meaty, tender... and a chicken breast wasn't going to cut it. I even had in mind the way I wanted to cook them - similar to brick chicken on the grill, but done in the oven in a cast iron skillet. I envisioned them having a seared, crispy skin that would impart its flavor to the meat of the thighs, melding with the flavors of lemon, roasted garlic and fresh herbs. I was salivating at my vision for these thighs before a single ingredient ever hit the pan.
Proud to say this dish rocked. If it looks good in the picture, I can guarantee it tasted even better. You must try.
This is how you do it:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- You will need two cast iron skillets; one slightly larger to hold the chicken and the smaller one to weight and set on top (the second skillet will act as a clamshell grill, helping to cook the chicken thighs on both sides at once)
- Line the smaller skillet with tin foil and weight with either a brick, or in my case, rocks!
- Place the rock-filled skillet in the oven to get up to temperature as you prep the chicken and do the stovetop steps below
- Peel the cloves from an entire bulb of garlic; smash lightly with the flat side of a wide butcher knife
- Peel and finely dice one shallot
- Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with a glug of olive oil; add the shallot and garlic cloves
- Over medium/low heat on the stove, cook until the shallots and garlic are soft and caramelized
- Remove the shallots and garlic and turn the heat up on the skillet to high
- Lightly coat six chicken thighs with olive oil; sprinkle with kosher salt
- When the stovetop skillet is piping hot, place the thighs skin-side down
- Cook the thighs until the skins are seared to a beautiful brown color (approximately 7-8 minutes); remove the thighs from the skillet (leave any drippings) and remove the skillet from the heat (turn off the stove)
- Return the garlic and shallots to the bottom of the skillet
- Add a layer of fresh herb sprigs to the skillet; I used rosemary and lemon thyme
- Return the thighs to the skillet, skin side up
- Cut two lemons in quarters and squeeze the juice over the chicken; scatter the quarter rinds amongst the thighs
- Add another layer of fresh herb sprigs on top of the chicken
- Place the preheated second weighted skillet on top of the chicken-filled skillet; place the entire kit and caboodle back into the 400 degree oven
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the thighs are cooked through
- Eat up!