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Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon

March 9, 2021

By Kath Dedon

This recipe for Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon caught my eye on Leite’s Culinaria. Some good friends in California had sent us some Meyer lemons from their tree, and this seemed like the perfect way to use one of them.

The unusual thing about this recipe is that you start the thighs skin-side down in a cold pan. As the pan heats up, the fat slowly renders. The result is chicken thighs with crisp skin.

We loved this chicken! I will definitely make it again, even if I have to settle for a common supermarket lemon. It’s a quick and easy recipe that delivers a lot of flavor.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon

(Adapted from a recipe by Sheela Prakash on Leite’s Culinaria)

(print the recipe)

Serves 2 – 4

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted

1 lemon, halved crosswise

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° with the rack in the middle position.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken thighs and rub it all over. Generously season them with salt, and give them a few grinds of pepper.
  3. Place the thighs skin side down in a cold cast iron (or other heavy oven-safe) skillet. Scatter the olives around the chicken.

4. Place the skillet on a burner and turn the heat to medium high. Cook, undisturbed, until the skin is browned and crisp, 12 – 20 minutes. (My thighs took about 16 minutes.)

5. While the chicken is browning, slice one of the lemon halves into thin slices and set aside.

6. When the chicken is browned, put the lemon slices in the pan and put the pan in the preheated oven to roast.

7. Roast until they are done, 8 – 15 minutes. They will measure 165° with an instant-read thermometer. (My thighs took 15 minutes in the oven.)

8. Squeeze the other lemon half over the chicken and serve.


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