15 December 2015

Faking grace in the kitchen this holiday season

Things are getting crazy, and yet people keep coming over to the house asking for food! (To be fair, they're family members and other assorted guests we invited long ago, but I always lose the ability to recall how tired and busy I am at the end of the semester, so they feel like beggars now to me.) This recipe might be my single greatest feat in the kitchen, producing moist, succulent meat and a satisfyingly crispy skin in under 45 minutes including prep.  I used my leftover chimichurri  sauce from last summer, and I served it with an old fave, Turkish Green Beans, and some Israeli couscous with a little more chimichurri stirred in. With a bottle of Chardonnay, it was both comforting and put-together enough for guests, but I still had time to sit down and visit with everyone while it was cooking. (Side note: if you ever get crazy cravings for fried chicken and live nowhere near the South, this recipe will also scratch that itch, and it's way less unhealthy.)

Crispy Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Serves 4 (or more, assuming 1 thigh per person)

4 chicken thighs (or however many you want)
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white vinegar
(optional: chimichurri, pesto, or other herb paste to taste)
Lemon wedges for serving

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and allow to marinate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

If using optional herb paste, rub generously underneath the skin. You could also just stick some minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs, and thinly sliced lemon in there.

Place chicken at least an inch apart on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up.

Bake 35 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over individual pieces.