If James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, the chicken thigh is his counterpart of the poultry world. Juicier than a breast, more substantial than a wing and more grown-up than a leg, the chicken thigh gets it done. Infuse it with rosemary and bay leaf, and you just might create magic.
What I used:
8 chicken thighs – bone in, fat and skin trimmed but not removed completely
paprika – to taste
Old Bay seasoning – to taste
Tony Chachere’s seasoning – to taste
1 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP olive oil
4 large dried bay leaves
4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 TBSP butter
1/4 of a medium onion – thinly sliced
1 large bunch of fresh asparagus
1 large clove of garlic – coarsely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh parsley – finely chopped
1/4 of a medium lemon
salt and pepper to taste
What I did:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Trim your chicken thighs, removing as much fat as possible but leaving a small, palm-sized square of skin. Wash gently and pat dry with paper towels.
Place four of the thighs skin-side down inside of a large bowl or pan. Aggressively season with the Tony’s, Old Bay and paprika on both sides. Don’t be afraid to layer.
Place the canola oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (but not smoking), place the first four thighs skin-side down and brown for three to four minutes. Lower heat if necessary to avoid burning the skin. The goal is crisp skin with a dark, golden-brown color. Flip and brown for three to four minutes on the other side. Thighs will still be raw near the bone. Remove thighs from pan, cover and set aside.
Repeat this process with the other four thighs.
When all eight thighs are complete, place olive oil in a large baking pan. Dip each bay leaf in the oil, coating both sides. This will keep the leaves from burning. Place bay leaves in the corners of the pan. Spread the remaining oil along the bottom of the pan.
Place fried thighs in the baking pan and add the sprigs of rosemary. Cover with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove foil and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for an additional 10 minutes. As individual ovens vary, check every few minutes to make sure thighs are not over-browning on top. Remove from oven and set aside.
Wash the asparagus and trim the stem ends. Cut in half length-wise. Place butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions. Stir 2-3 minutes, until onions are slightly brown and translucent along the edges.
Add asparagus, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir and toss over heat about 4-5 minutes. Squeeze lemon wedge over asparagus. Stir and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set asparagus aside.
This dish is aromatic, full of flavor and great for a healthy family dinner.