Thursday Dinner: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pureed Broccoli

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Chicken thighs are far superior to breast meat when you are roasting. I’ll let Albert Burneko from Deadspin explain:

You can get all the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the industrialized world for, like, 10 bucks; the great thing about these is that they taste better than all other things; the worst thing about them is that roughly 97% of their matter takes the form of fat, which will convert to liquid grease the instant they are exposed to any heat warmer than the inside of your refrigerator.

So, all of the extra fat that gets exuded from the chicken thigh makes it a self-basting meat when roasting. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. Plus, you really have to work hard at screwing up a roasted chicken thigh. Drying out a chicken breast in the oven happens more often than not.

But, chicken thighs on their own? That’s boring. What we need is a complementary vegetable. Something hearty. Something that stands up on its own. Something like…broccoli.

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Broccoli was pretty bountiful last weekend at the Central New York Regional Market. I picked up this massive head of broccoli for $2:

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But, broccoli alone is not the answer, which is why I went for…

WHAT WORKED: The broccoli puree from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Pureed with Crème Fraîche and Greek yogurt, this makes for a perfect side dish, topping, or dip. I found myself hunched over the blender with a spoon eating it right from the pitcher.

WHAT DIDN’T: Not much. This went together pretty easily.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “Am I going to like the broccoli thing?”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely, as long as the broccoli is fresh.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Silver Palate Pureed Broccoli
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
  • 3 to 4 lbs. broccoli, trimmed and chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 oz. Crème Fraîche
  • 4 to 5 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

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Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and herbes de provence together in a small bowl. Add chicken pieces to a zipper-lock freezer bag, pour the lemon juice over the top, seal, and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

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Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a liberal amount of kosher salt. Chop the broccoli into fork-sized pieces. Discard the tough base stem and add to the boiling water. Cook until fork-tender, 7 to 9 minutes.

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Use a slotted spoon to transfer broccoli to a blender pitcher. After moving half of the broccoli to the blender, add the Crème Fraîche, yogurt and cheese. Top with the remaining broccoli. Put the top on the blender and puree until all of the large pieces have been blended smooth. Add the nutmeg and pulse until combined.

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Transfer chicken thighs to a serving platter and top with a serving spoonful of the broccoli. Serve with the remaining puree.

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