Traditionally protein is the star of the meal. Think about the turkey on Thanksgiving, or the roast on Christmas day. Cooking a turkey can be tricky! Making sure the breasts are still moist while the dark meat is cooked through and won't send your guests to the hospital... it's an art! But it's an art that doesn't have to be difficult, particularly in smaller quantities. After all, you're not cooking for a family of 20 everyday (that is, unless you have a lot of children)...
Often times cooking meat can be easier than preparing all of the vegetarian side dishes—there's a lot of chopping involved! Preparing a meal for the Man and myself that involves an animal protein tends to have far fewer steps than a vegetarian meal. I eat fish but not meat, so regularly our protein is something that swims or grows in the ground. But occasionally I do cook him meat. (Even though I don't eat it anymore, I can still recognize when some chicken or pork would match perfectly with the meal I have in mind.) And when I do cook meat, I'm often appreciative because it usually makes the meal a lot simpler!
So here's my go-to quick and easy recipe. You can use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Bone-in simply requires slightly more cooking time. Another side note: I used parsley in this one, but feel free to use whatever fresh herb you like. Rosemary works well too.
GARLIC AND HERB CHICKEN THIGHS
- 8 chicken thighs, bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- a big handful of herbs, chopped (parsley and/or rosemary is my favorite)
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the chicken, garlic, herbs, and a splash of olive oil in a bowl and rub the marinade into the chicken thighs until well coated. Season with sea salt and pepper and toss again. If using boneless meat, roll each piece so that the loose ends are tucked under, and arrange the chicken pieces into a glass or ceramic baking dish in a single layer so that they fit snugly without extra room in the dish. You can cook immediately, or cover and refrigerate overnight as needed, making sure to remove your chicken from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Roast the chicken for 35-50 minutes depending on the size of your thighs, until the juices run clear (or until your meat's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). Boneless thighs will take closer to 35 minutes, bone-in thighs will require closer to 50. If you are using skin-on thighs, turn the oven to broil for a couple of minutes at the end to crisp the skin.