Crispy Chicken Thighs with Chorizo & Fennel Bread Salad
Bone-in chicken thighs are easy to cook and extra tasty because their meat is rich and juicy, and the bone and skin add flavor and help retain moisture. Cooking chicken under a brick (or in this case, a heavy pan) is as easy as grilling but has the added benefits of golden, uniformly crisped skin and succulent meat. We like to serve it with a bold garlic-and- olive pan sauce over a warm “skillet panzanella” of country-style bread, chorizo, and fennel.
- 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 ¼ lb. total)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon rice oil or other neutral- flavored oil
- 1/3 lb Spanish chorizo about 3 links, cut into ½ inch-thick rounds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ cups cubed country-style bread cut in ¾ inch cubes
- 1 large fennel bulb approx. ½ lb, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and julienned
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek chile paste; found at most Asian markets
- 1.4 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
- ½ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives sliced into rounds
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions light and dark green parts
- 3 oz arugula 2 ½ to 3 cups
TO COOK THE CHICKEN:
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season the thighs generously on both sides with salt and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Have ready a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and a second heavy pan that fits just inside the rim of the skillet. Wrap the second pan with aluminum foil. Heat the rice oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the thighs, skin side down, and top them with the wrapped pan. Cook for about
minutes, until skin is golden brown. Remove the top pan, flip the chicken, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken, skin side up, to a half sheet pan. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from bone registers 165°F. Pour out the fat from the skillet and reserve.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SALAD:
Add the chorizo to the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a large bowl. Immediately add 1 teaspoon olive oil, the bread, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to the chorizo oil remaining in the pan, reduce the heat to low, and toast, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until crispy. Transfer the bread to the bowl with the chorizo. Wipe the crumbs out of the skillet.
When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven and let rest until ready to serve.
Return 2 tablespoons of the reserved chicken fat to the skillet and place over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Scrape all of the tasty browned bits off the bottom of the pan and stir into the fennel, then transfer the fennel to the bowl with the chorizo and bread and toss to mix well.
TO PREPARE THE SAUCE AND FINISH THE DISH:
Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved chicken fat, the garlic, and the sambal oelek to the skillet over medium-low heat and stir to mix for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the olives, stock, any juices that have accumulated from the reserved thighs, and 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the flavors have blended and the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then stir in the parsley and green onions. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
Toss the chorizo-bread mixture with the arugula and spoon the mixture onto individual serving plates, dividing it evenly, or onto a large platter. Top with the chicken thighs and pass the sauce at the table for each diner to add as desired.
Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Seco Highlands Chardonnay
The Meyer lemon and lime notes in the wine highlight the olives and fennel, while its creamy fruit coats the palate for perfect flavor synergy with the chicken and chorizo.