I find chicken thighs to be one of the most succulent and flavorful parts of a chicken. It’s often overshadowed by chicken breasts in recipes, which is a shame. Not to take away from breast meat, but the dark meat of the thigh is much more flavorful and less prone to drying out, as well as keeping better in the fridge as leftovers. The secret to good chicken thighs is to cook them in a cast iron skillet on high heat, skin side down for about 5 minutes until the fat is rendered and the skin is nice and crispy.
Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
- 2 Tbsp. lemon (juice of 1 lemon)
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Meanwhile, coat the chicken thighs with paprika, kosher salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet over high heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken thighs skin side down. Occasionally rearrange the chicken thighs, cooking until the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate. Drain the fat from the skillet.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet and add the minced garlic, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, cream, grated Parmigiano, lemon juice and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and place in the oven, cooking uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and return to the stove over medium-high heat. Add baby spinach and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!