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Roasted Chicken Thighs to Die For

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This roasted chicken thighs recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver's TV series. This English guy is an extraordinary chef.  I adore his unpretentious way of cooking, and I love him for his efforts to change school food and end mental retardation and sickness among children. He cooks as if he is playing a fascinating game. His style reminds me how I "cooked" for my dolls: a few leaves and a few flowers, a pinch of this and a dash of that, and voila! - you have a fabulous dinner. I never saw Jamie measure things, he goes by his instinct and taste. Most of the ingredients he uses come from his garden, and he touches them with heart while cooking.  His food is rustic, but captivating. After watching him one would like to never leave the kitchen, and cook cook cook.
I was so inspired by one of episodes that made a trip to my favorite organic farm to buy chicken thighs. Alas! - I couldn't get freshly dug young potatoes that were part of the recipe, and actually I changed the recipe a bit, but in spite of this the result was phenomenal.
What you need:
4 chicken thighs
6 medium potatoes, preferably young
1 pint small tomatoes (cherry, grape, plum, any color)
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
Rosemary, dill, cilantro
Olive oil
Black pepper
Preparation time: 1.5 hours
Feeds 4 people

1. Peel and cut potatoes in halves, cover with water, set on high heat.
2. Cut bones out of chicken thighs, trim the fat, cut each thigh into 4-5 strips.
Reserve the bones for  future chicken broth.
 Preheat a non-stick skillet with 3 tbsp olive oil, fry thighs on medium to high heat until slightly golden. Salt and pepper thighs while frying. Put aside.
3. Salt potatoes when they start boiling.
4. Peel and thinly slice onion and garlic.
5. Chop rosemary, dill, and cilantro.
6. Take about 1/2 tbsp each rosemary, dill, cilantro, and 1 clove garlic. Smash them with a pestle in a mortar until they release juices. Add about 1/2 cup olive oil. This will make a fragrant green oil.
Green oil is a delectable treat by itself.

7. If your tomatoes are bigger ones, cut then in halves.
8. Set the oven at 385F.
9. Drain potatoes when they are just about done, cut or crush them into smaller pieces, throw in onion, garlic, rosemary and part of dill. Add potatoes to chicken, gently fold them in chicken juices. Taste for salt, add more if desired, transfer to a baking dish. Cover tomatoes in the leftover fats from chicken, add to potatoes and chicken  (put them cut side down to ease out juice during baking).

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes on top begin to wrinkle. Set on broil for a couple of minutes to brown a little.
Wrinkled, but still juicy inside!
When serving, add lots of chopped greens, sprinkle with the green oil, and give each portion a gentle squeeze of lemon juice.
Enjoy the fabulous union of tastes and fragrances. Sharpen your experience with a glass of chilled white wine.

In the original recipe Jamie added vinegar to green oil and poured it onto potatoes and chicken before baking. I preferred the vigour of fresh lemon juice and oil that are not destroyed by the heat.
I wish I could find potatoes growing somewhere nearby and just ask to dig it for me for my next attempt of this splendid dish.

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