A dinner for four was organised at a friend’s place on a spontaneous Wednesday night. I had been in and out of meetings and appointments all day, with the last one ending at 7pm. As my appointment concluded I whipped out my phone to see a long stream of messages discussing what-to-bring for dinner at the eleventh hour (we were meeting at 7:30pm).
I thought I could buy some fresh greens and tomatoes to whip together a simple salad with my favourite honey-basil dressing (recipe here). But as I scrolled through the messages, “I’ll make a salad” was already in the conversation. With 30 minutes to brainstorm what to add to our dinner and shop for the ingredients… I wanted to make something simple.
So I made these simple roasted chicken thigh and everyone was impressed! The prep time is only about 10 minutes, so I was still able to join the pre-dinner champagne toasts. It just needs about 30 minutes in the oven to cook.
- 6 chicken thighs (upper part)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 large white onion
- 4-5 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Dried thyme (optional)
WHY CHICKEN THIGH? You may be tempted to substitute chicken breasts here, but with breasts, the end result will be completely different. This recipe is easy because chicken thighs are more fatty, therefore relatively easy to cook while maintaining its juiciness. Moreover, we are relying on the thighs releasing their ‘juices’ onto the baking tray to flavourfully cook the onions.
Chicken breasts don’t have those juices (they will release a bland ‘water’) and they should be cooked for much less time, at a much lower temperature. To maintain breasts’ juiciness, the cook time needs to be much more precise, depending on its starting temperature and size.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you take the chicken thighs out of the fridge around 2 hours before cooking. A room temperature piece of chicken will cook more evenly and remain juicy.
- Place the chicken thighs in a baking tray, ideally spread out and separated, so that they can be cooked throughout
- Roughly slice 6 large cloves of garlic, add it to the tray
- Roughly cut up 1 large white onion, into thick strips (1cm wide, 2-3 inches long), add it to the tray
- Season the chicken thighs with paprika and a generous amount of salt and pepper, add in dried thyme leaves (optional)
- Add the olive oil and then use your hands to massage the chicken thighs to make sure the seasoning is evenly spread among the chicken and onions
- Place it in the oven (middle rack) at 200 degrees Celsius for 30 mins. If you’re using the whole chicken leg, it may need closer to 45 mins.
For more ideas on seasoning chicken, see also: 3 Ways to Cook Flavourful and Healthy Chicken Breast.
Leave a comment below for any questions and to let me know how it goes!