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Food and Drink

Crisp on the outside and fall-off-the-bone tender, chicken thighs make a stellar weeknight dinner

  • Author: Kim Sunée
  • Updated: September 19
  • Published September 19

Crispy chicken thighs with creamy soy and Swiss chard (Photo by Kim Sunée)

This is an easy weeknight dish that maximizes flavor and ease of prep. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which are very forgiving, get crisped up in a hot cast-iron skillet and then cook down to fall-off-the-bone tenderness. A blast of heat at the end ensures extra crispy skin. Our local farmers markets are abundant with hardy greens, such as chard, mustard and collards; they work well in this dish, rich with umami-laden soy and a bit of cream. If you’d like more kick, add hot paprika, gochugaru Korean chile flakes or some thinly sliced Hatch chiles, which are in season and available fresh at some local supermarkets. Serve with hot cooked rice and kimchi or sauerkraut to round out the meal.

Crispy chicken thighs with creamy soy and Swiss chard

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as grapeseed, avocado or canola

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced or 3 to 4 green onions, thinly sliced (1/3 cup)

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, grated or minced

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 bunch Swiss chard or mustard greens or bok choy (about 4 cups packed), roughly chopped or torn

Optional garnishes: toasted sesame seed; gochugaru; chopped cilantro or green onion

Cooked rice, for serving

1. Set a large heavy-bottom pan, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Add oil. Pat thighs dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken with a very light sprinkling of salt and pepper; keep in mind that soy sauce will add some salt as well. Place thighs, skin-side down, into the skillet. Let cook, 15 minutes, without moving chicken, until skin is crispy and fat has rendered. Check after 5 minutes or so. If skin is cooking too quickly, reduce heat a bit. Move the pan around over the heat for even cooking but try not to move the chicken; it will release when it’s ready. You want the fat to render and the skin to be golden brown. When chicken moves easily in pan, turn pieces over and brown the other side, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, skin side-up; the chicken will not be cooked all the way through at this point. Remove all but 2 to 3 tablespoons fat. Do not wipe out pan.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add onion, ginger, and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add soy sauce and cream. Bring to a low boil. Add chicken, skin-side up. Place skillet in preheated oven and cook another 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir in the chard, making sure not to cover the chicken, and bake another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy and golden brown. If you want extra crispy skin, heat broiler to high and broil a few minutes until sauce is bubbling. Garnish, if desired, and serve with hot cooked rice.

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