Elegant dinners are not just for the weekends. Do you ever have a night that you would love to sit down to enjoy a nice glass of wine over an elegant dinner with your family? I know I have those days. Well, that day came yesterday for me. I know from experience that many elegant meals come with quite a bit of prep time in the kitchen. Not to mention all the cleanup afterward. While they are worth it, not all elegant meals require a lot of work in the kitchen. I love creating recipes that I can incorporate fresh ingredients, such as the chicken thighs in this recipe, or my homegrown herbs. I really do enjoy turning them into something that looks restaurant quality. A few simple steps and you can enjoy this elegant meal with your loved ones too. It will definitely impress them, especially for a weeknight!
To accomplish this, it helps to keep staples on hand in your pantry, such as the chicken stock or a good cooking wine. Even fresh lemons can be stored in your fridge for quite a while. After buying fresh lemons, I place them into freezer bags, push all the air out and seal the bag. I place the bag into my lettuce/veggie bin (in the fridge) and they last 3x as long compared to letting them sit in my fruit bowl or just placing them in the fridge without the bag.
When cooking with wine, I like to use a wine that is good enough to drink. You can certainly use a cooking wine from your local supermarket that isn’t intended for drinking. I have used both types of wines in my cooking. I find that using one that you would drink makes a difference in the flavor you get out of the dish when cooked. Plus, you are not cooking with the entire bottle so this means you get to enjoy a glass or two with the meal. Bonus!
For this meal, I was inspired by all the fresh herbs I am growing. I love how I can walk right outside my kitchen and onto my deck and I have all the herbs I need at my fingertips. Growing my herbs on my deck means they are not being eaten up by all the cute bunnies we have around my house. That has resulted in a bountiful selection of herbs. My homegrown herbs have become a staple during summertime. I have Rosemary, Basil, Chives, Parsley, Dill and of course the Lemon Thyme. Another favorite of mine is Cilantro. For some reason, this is the one herb I have not had much luck with. So I continue to buy that at the supermarket. The Lemon Thyme has become one of my favorite herbs to cook with. It is so fragrant and as soon as you pick it or cut a few sprigs of it you really can smell the lemon. It has such a vibrant and fresh smell. I especially love using the Lemon Thyme with chicken. It gives the chicken so much flavor, it brings your dishes to life.
My dish incorporated the Lemon Thyme, Chicken Thighs and fresh lemons. Using a cast iron skillet helped to give the chicken a nice golden, crispy skin. The chicken was so tender and juicy that you could cut it with a fork . A spoonful of my White Wine reduction sauce and a bed of Basmati Rice complimented the dish very nicely. My family loved the dish, even my kids were asking for seconds.
Lemon Thyme Chicken
Makes approx. 4-5 Servings
4 Large or 8 Small, Chicken Thighs, boneless
2 Tablespoons, Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons, Lemon-Thyme, finely chopped
1 1/2 Lemons, sliced
1 Tablespoon, Olive Oil
1 Shallot, minced
1/2, White Onion, finely chopped
2. Fresh Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 Cup, Dry White Wine
1 1/2 Cups, Chicken Broth, low-sodium
1 Teaspoon, Lemon-Thyme, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons, Butter, unsalted
Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees.
Make the Sauce: Place a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped onion and shallot and cook until they start to become translucent, about 5-8 ,minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season with S&P then add the wine, chicken broth and Lemon-Thyme and stir well. Bring to a boil then simmer to reduce by about 1/2 (to cook of some of that wine). Add the butter and stir.
Cook the Chicken: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with S&P. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken into the pan, skin side down (if your thighs have skin). The Chicken Thighs I used were boneless & skinless. Cook for approx. 10 minutes, until they are nice and golden brown. Flip them over and continue cooking for just another minute (just to get a nice sear on that side). Drain some of the fat out of the skillet. Then, place a lemon slice under each piece of chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with Lemon-Thyme, then add another slice of lemon on top of each piece of chicken. Spoon a small amount of sauce over each piece of chicken (about 1/2-1 teaspoon of sauce over each piece).
Place the skillet into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 degrees). Cooking time can vary, depending on how thick the chicken is. Remove from the oven and serve. We served our chicken over a bed of Brown Basmati Rice. Garnish with the lemons. The lemons from the bottom of the skillet should be nice and caramelized. Spoon sauce over each chicken and sprinkle a little Lemon-Thyme for garnish. If you are serving on a platter, you can also garnish with a few whole sprigs of the Lemon-Thyme.