One of the blessings of our mild California climate (aside from the shorts and flip-flops weather while much of the country is bundled up in several layers of wool and fleece) is that I can look outside my kitchen window in February and see a lemon tree heavy with fruit and bushes of rosemary, oregano, and other herbs. Thus the inspiration for this easy skillet chicken thigh dish!
I chose rosemary to go with the lemon and garlic in the rub for the chicken, but you could easily use oregano or thyme or a mix of all three if you want. My father for one is not too fond of rosemary, so if I were making this for him, I would use thyme.
The dish couldn't be simpler. You first make a rub with rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil, and marinate the chicken pieces in this rub with a little lemon juice for an hour or two.
Then you brown the the thighs skin side down, turn the chicken pieces over, wiggle some garlic and shallots in between the thighs, and roast in the oven until cooked through.
Do a little bit of thinking ahead to marinate chicken and then cook up the whole thing in less than half an hour. Easy!
Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- Zest of one lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons)
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 or more shallots, peeled, halved (optional, can use 1/2-inch thick wedges of red onion, or skip)
Make rub with the rosemary, zest, garlic, salt, and pepper
Place the rosemary, lemon zest, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper in a mini-chopper and pulse until well ground. (If you don't have a mini-chopper, just mince the rosemary and garlic very fine, and mix with the rest). Then add the tablespoon of olive oil and pulse again.
Marinate chicken thighs with rosemary lemon rub
Place the chicken thighs in a (non-reactive) bowl and rub all over with the rosemary lemon herb rub. Arrange the thighs skin-side down and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Let marinate for an hour at room temperature, or chill several hours or overnight, and let sit at room temp for an hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Sear the chicken thighs
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a cast iron (10 to 12-inch) or other large relatively stick-free oven-proof skillet (hard anodized aluminum will work well) on medium high to high heat.
As soon as the oil is shimmery hot, pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels and lay them skin-side down in the pan.
Sear the thighs without moving them for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned.
Turn the thighs over in the pan so they are skin-side up. Remove the pan from heat.
Arrange garlic and shallots between chicken thighs and roast in oven
Place garlic cloves and either shallots or onion wedges in between the chicken thigh pieces in the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs reach 170°F.
Remove from oven.
As a safety note (having burned my hand in the past), I recommend rubbing an ice cube on the handle of the hot pan as a way to cook it down quickly. Then be sure you keep the handle covered with a pot holder so that someone (including yourself) doesn't inadvertently pick up the pan with the hot handle on their bare hands.
Serve with a side of rice, pasta, bread, or potatoes, or over a bed of baby arugula or spinach leaves for a low carb option.