Saturday, November 13, 2021

Cooler Weather Means Oven Roast Chicken Thighs With Veggies

I love the fall! Trees turning all the fall colors, air turning crisp, and, around here, foggy some mornings. Time for pumpkins and walnuts and apples. This year the acorns have masted, which means that they have produced an enormous crop that carpets the ground. It's also a wonderful time for using the oven. Not only am I drawn again to baking with the cooler weather, but increasingly I'm ready to move away from entrees cooked on the BBQ to ones cooked on the stove top or in the oven.

For dinner last night we had a great dish of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cooked in a Dutch oven. The bottom of the pot held seasoned pieces of various veggies including potatoes, red onion, carrots, and celery. I use a recycled clean produce bag to hold all the cut up vegetables, add the seasonings, close the bag and shake, then add the olive oil, close the bag and shake to distribute the seasonings and oil. Then they go into the pot. The seasoned chicken was placed on top, along with some whole green beans. They roasted for about 20 minutes, covered, then another 10 or so uncovered. 

It's the kind of dish you can prep in the morning or the night before, stash the filled Dutch oven in the fridge, then put it in the oven after work, leaving you time to have a glass or wine or a cup of tea while everything cooks and makes the house smell wonderful. Almost effortless, plus you'll have time to set the table and put together a salad if there will be hearty eaters. No Dutch oven? Use as deep a casserole as you have and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

You can use other veggies - peppers, mushrooms, parsnips or turnips all come to mind - and you can vary the seasonings, too, with other spices like oregano, fennel, tarragon or cumin, or by adding some mustard and/or lemon juice. Just remember that the juices from the chicken bathe the veggies below so the seasonings should go with chicken. All the vegetable pieces should be about the same size so that they are uniformly cooked through by the time the chicken is done. You can pierce the larger pieces with a sharp knife at the end to check for tenderness. The internal temperature for the chicken should be 165 degrees F, or you can cut on and the juices should run clear.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Veggies
Serves 3-4

3 medium Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces, (not peeled)
1/2 medium red onion, peeled, ends removed, cut into wedges
2-3 large carrots, cleaned, ends removed, cut into bite-size pieces
2-3 large stalks celery, ends removed, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cups fresh whole green beans, ends removed
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed, dried, salt and pepper to taste added to both sides

If baking right away, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If baking later or the next day, preheat the oven when you are ready to bake.

Place the pieces of potato, onion, carrots, and celery in a large plastic bag (a clean produce bag works well). Add the pepper, salt, thyme, and rosemary to the bag. Close the bag tightly and shake vigorously to distribute spices. Open the bag and add the olive oil. Close the bag tightly and shake vigorously to distribute the oil to all the pieces. Open the bag and pour all the seasoned veggies into the bottom of a Dutch oven or deep casserole. Place the green beans and seasoned chicken thighs on top. Cover with the lid or with aluminum foil (tightly) and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Check to make sure that internal temperature for the chicken is 165 degrees F, or you can cut on and the juices should run clear. Pierce the largest pieces of veggies with a sharp knife to make sure they are tender. If necessary, bake longer until proper temperature for the chicken and tenderness for the veggies is reached.

Serve at once making sure to have a piece of chicken and some of all the veggies, in all the servings.

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