Tis the season of heavy eating! Thanksgiving dinner, holiday parties, and cookie exchanges it’s time to lighten up. This simple diner of chicken thighs and vegetables is the result of a quick trip to Whole Foods looking for inspiration for the defrosted chicken that was already in the house. Inspiration was found in the form of the beautiful small organic carrots that were on sale and a handful of sinfully expensive chanterell mushrooms. The resulting meal was tasty enough I could have used it for main course at a small holiday dinner party but simple enough to whip up in about 15 minutes while chatting with the husband over a bottle of wine. This is one of those meals that all the TV show cooks make after a trip to the farmer’s market or into their own impossibly perfect home garden. Let me tell you why. It’s simple, it’s seasonal and it’s no fail, plus it looks so pretty on the platter when you put it on the table. Add a loaf of that fancy farmer’s market artisan bread and a bottle of clean white wine and even Michael Chiarello would be impressed.
Ok let’s talk mushrooms. I love, love, love chanterell mushrooms. For a number of years I was lucky enough to travel to German annually during the chanterell mushroom season. In late summer the Germans include these meaty mellow wonderful mushrooms in most meals, and they are perfection. I can’t tell you how good they are. Here in the USA it’s pretty hard to find them, but occasionally a gourmet market will have them. They are not the tiny tender things I loved in Germany but they are close. I only indulge in this ridiculous infatuation about once a year, since these little buggers cost more per pound than filet mignon, but cooked in the chicken fat that renders out of the thighs in this dish I can pretend I am in Germany. You don’t need to buy the chanterell mushrooms for this dish, the baby bellas would be divine, and much more cost efficient.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Root Vegetables
- 4-8 bone in skin on chicken thighs small breasts would work too
- 1 bunch small carrots peeled and tops removed
- 2-3 large shallots cut up
- 6-8 red potatoes cut up
- 4 parsnips peeled and cut up
- 1-2 cups of chanterell or other rich flavored mushroom
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Favorite dry spice mixture I used Bouquet garni
- 1 lemon
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry your chicken thighs. Drizzle them with olive oil, then season generously with the dry spices, salt and pepper. Arrange them on a large baking sheet skin side up. Clean and prep the veggies next, leaving the mushrooms aside.
Toss the veggies in olive oil and season generously with the dry spices, salt and pepper. Add the veggies in a thin layer to the baking sheet with the chicken, don’t over crowd. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Clean the mushrooms with a dry paint brush or cloth. Toss them with olive oil and season generously with the dry spices, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the baking sheet after the first 20 minutes of cooking.
When you have the oven open give the potatoes a flip if they look like they need it. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature on the chicken reaches 165 degrees and veggies are tender. You can always remove the chicken and cover with foil if the thighs are done before the veggies, once the chicken is out you can crank the oven up to 425 to finish the veggies.
Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over everything. Also taste a potato and check to see if more salt or pepper is needed.
Keep the carrot tops for homemade stock, to feed your pet rabbit or to stuff inside a whole chicken/turkey when roasting.
Any root veggies that are in season can be used in this dish so buy what looks good and you family likes i.e. turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes or yams.
The mushrooms I added in the last ten minutes of cooking could be replaced with almost any quick cooking veggie like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or asparagus.