This might be the simplest, most intensely flavorful chicken you’ve ever tied with garlic croutons perfect for soaking up the luscious juices.
Chicken so full of flavor, yet so simple, and it’s all done in one skillet. Chicken breasts might get all the press, but it’s the humble chicken thigh that really delivers in terms of flavor, versatility and economy. Chicken thighs are the “food gods” gift to home cooks everywhere. Each one is its own perfect portion of crispy skin and juicy meat that’s hard to screw up. This satisfying weeknight supper only takes a just over half an hour to whip up, and has a luscious sauce that has melded flavor of a long simmered stew. The mouthwatering pan sauce is created by the chickens natural juices, fresh ginger, onions, celery and parsnips which is soaked up by the garlicky croutons. Every bite is so delectable, the crispy skin, flavorful pan sauce which is sweet-savory and salty.
What’s the secret to to chicken thighs with beautifully crisped skin you may ask…? Pat the chicken with paper towel and sear them, skin side down in a very hot skillet on the stovetop, and then roasted in a 450℉ (232℃) on top of the softened vegetables which creates the pan sauce. I’m not going to leave you standing in the kitchen with just some crispy thighs, and pan sauce. Let’s make something to put them on. Drum roll please…Garlicky croutons is the bed to lay those crispy thighs on. For the croutons, we used the excess chicken fat for another layer of flavor with garlic infused oil.
Lets talk about parsnips…You might have spied parsnips at the grocery store: Knobbly, unevenly shaped vegetables that look like albino carrots. No thanks, you think to yourself. I don’t blame you—I skipped over parsnips for years! But this veggie is more than just a pale carrot, and once I learned how to cook parsnips, it was game over. These root vegetables have a sweet, nutty flavor with a starchy, slightly spicy characteristic that’s hard to beat.
For the ginger chicken:
- 2.5 pounds bone in, skin on chicken thighs (1kg)
- sea salt or Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons duck fat or any neutral cooking oil i.e canola oil (30ml)
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped into 1 inch dice (2.5cm)
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced in a mortar & pestle (about 3 tablespoons)
- 3 large parsnips, peeled and rolled-cut into ¾ inch (2cm) see note
- 4 celery stalks, cut into ¾ inch (2cm) leaves reserved and roughly chopped
- 7-8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped (about 1 tablespoon of leaves)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
For the croutons:
- 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch (2-2.5cm) cubes (3 cups)
- 3 tablespoons excess chicken fat, or olive oil added to make up the difference
- 4-5 large garlic cloves
- sea salt or Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450℉ (232℃). With a paper towel pat the chicken thighs dry (if it’s not dried well the skin won’t crisp up). Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a large oven safe skillet, (see note) heat 2 tablespoons of the duck fat or oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the thighs skin side down, don’t move the thighs until it’s no longer sticking to the pan and the fat starts render. Re-adjust the thighs so the fat gets underneath. Cook the skin side of the thighs until deeply browned and crispy briefly cook the under side (for about 10 minutes), transfer to a plate. Spread 1 tablespoon of the ginger on top of the thighs and set aside.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil that rendered in the pan. Add the onions, celery, parsnips, thyme and remaining ginger. Season with salt and pepper and sauté the vegetables, stirring until softened and the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Top with the thighs, skin side up, and bake uncovered until the chicken and vegetables are done, 25-30 minutes.
- For the crouton: Meanwhile drizzle the oil over the bread and toss to coat. Heat a large sauté pan over medium and add the bread, season with salt and pepper. Toss frequently for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
- To serve: Serve the crispy chicken thighs on top of the croutons with the pan juices drizzled over. Garnish with the chopped parsley and celery leaves.