Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Paprika

Figuring out today’s lunch was kind of difficult. No way to go and buy missing ingredients because it is a bank holiday – November 1st. The only option I had left was to open the freezer and look for hidden goodness inside. I found some portions of a chicken we bought a month ago from a farmer we really trust. We used most the chicken already, and only had some “spare” parts left. Thighs with some surrounding, I don’t really know how to call it. I needed to invent a dish that makes the most of them, so I decided to call my creation: Delicious oven roasted chicken thighs.

I wanted to make it fresh and light, not spicy, because we had enough heavy food in the last couple of days, being a long festive weekend. So I started thinking what to do with big parts of chicken, that isn’t only pan and oven with some salt and pepper. Not that there is anything wrong with simple seasoning and good execution. We make stuff like that a lot in our home. I just wanted to play just enough to achieve something new. And I did!

oven-roasted-chicken-thighs-garlic oven-roasted-chicken-thighs-lemon

What are oven roasted chicken thighs all about?

They proved to be about using chicken parts I usually avoid. I don’t know why, maybe because it is easier to buy and cook cuts with more meat than bones, and it is much easier to eat them – fingers stay cleaner. I always knew that cuts like this usually taste a lot better than good looking lean ones. But still – so far, I have been avoiding them. I learned this has to stop. If you also find you started cooking always the same cuts, these oven roasted chicken thighs can be your portal to new meaty goodness.

I needed to work with my usual constraints: the dish needed to be dairy free, egg free and nut free. We are starting to feed our little girl (13 months old) the same food that we eat whenever we can. That’s why my husband and I also eat stuff without ingredients she is allergic to. And we are learning – no eggs, dairy and nuts isn’t necessarily a big handicap. Even without these ingredients, food can be nothing less than magnificent.

Big chicken pieces take time to prepare. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

This dish takes around 2 hours to prepare, but most of that time will be roasting. People will try to convince you that you can prepare tender chicken meat in a shorter time, but I myself still need to find a way, so until then, I will roast it “low and slow”.

This one is again – an “as simple as it gets” dish. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of the days, we just want something to eat and not to reinvent kitchen. I think it is always better to cook yourself something simple with good ingredients than to go to a fast food joint and poison your body even more. I give you: the simple oven roastec chicken thighs with lemon and paprika!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs (can be with surrounding meat like the ones I had)
  • 2 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tea spoon sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tea spoon dried thyme
  • 5 table spoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic

Instructions

These are simple oven roasted chicken thighs in a kind of marinade. I didn’t even marinade it for that long, but it came out great.

Preheat your oven to 170°C.

Take a small bowl. Crush and finely chop garlic and squeeze two lemons into this bowl. Add a good amount of salt (I used one tea spoon), pepper, paprika and thyme and mix well.

Marinade for oven roasted chicken thighs in the making. All the spices, together with olive oil and lemon juice.
Marinade for oven roasted chicken thighs in the making. All the spices, together with olive oil and lemon juice.
Finished marinade.
Finished marinade.

Take a piece of parchment paper big enough to cover the base of your baking tray. Wet it with water. Crush the sheet while water is running onto it. Then straighten it and place it onto the baking tray.

Place chicken parts onto it. Rub them with the marinade you just made. Massage it into the meat really well. If possible, also get some under the skin.

Chicken thighs just before covering with tin foil.
Chicken thighs just before covering with tin foil.
Tin foil prevents over-drying while cooking the chicken thighs "low and slow".
Tin foil prevents over-drying while cooking the chicken thighs “low and slow”.

Slice half a lemon into thin slices and place them under the chicken. This step is optional, but it is nice to separate the meat from the tin. Lemon will produce additional freshness and prevent meat from overcooking from direct contact to the roasting tray. I don’t know if there is actual  science behind it, but I have been avoiding placing bigger chunks of meat directly onto roasting tray for years.

Cover with tin foil to prevent excess dry-out

Cover everything with tin foil and seal the edges as good as you possibly can.

Place the tray with the meat into the oven and set timer to 90 minutes. An hour and a half of (almost) free time. A good time to prepare a side dish. I made sliced baked potatoes on already mentioned way – salt, pepper, oven. That’s it.

After an hour and a half, remove tin foil from the meat and increase heat to 200°C and leave it in for another 20 or 30 minutes. You decide when the skin looks good enough to take the meat out of the oven. You want it golden brown. I am sure you’ll know exactly what you want when you see it.

That is basically it. Serve with baked potatoes you made in your spare 90 minutes and enjoy simple yet delicious oven roasted chicken thighs.

oven roasted chicken thighs

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Paprika

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Paprika

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (can be with surrounding meat like the ones I had)
  • 2 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tea spoon sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tea spoon dried thyme
  • 5 table spoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C.
  2. Take a small bowl. Crush and finely chop garlic and squeeze two lemons into this bowl. Add a good amount of salt (I used one tea spoon), pepper, paprika and thyme and mix well.
  3. Take a piece of parchment paper big enough to cover the base of your baking tray. Wet it with water. Crush the sheet while water is running onto it. Then straighten it and place it onto the baking tray.
  4. Place chicken parts onto the parchment paper. Rub them with the marinade you just made. Massage it into the meat really well. If possible, also get some under the skin.
  5. Slice half a lemon into thin slices and place them under the chicken.
  6. Cover everything with tin foil and seal the edges as good as you possibly can.
  7. Place the tray with the meat into the oven and set timer to 90 minutes.
  8. After an hour and a half, remove tin foil from the meat and increase heat to 200°C and leave it in for another 20 or 30 minutes. You decide when the skin looks good enough to take the meat out of the oven. You want it golden brown. I am sure you'll know exactly what you want when you see it.
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