What characterizes a truly great recipe? In my humble opinion, a great recipe should meet most if not all of the following criteria: straightforward, crowd pleasing, nutritious, delicious, adaptable, and fool proof. These Chicken Thighs with Pancetta and Olives check all the boxes! I found the inspiration for this tasty dish years ago on Epicurious, and I’ve played with a few different variations- every single one has been a winner! You seriously can’t go wrong with this one. Not a fan of thighs? Use breasts! Or try a whole 3.5 lb chicken cut into pieces to offer more variety. No kalamatas in the kasa? Try a different olive instead (the original recipe calls for oil cured black olives- which I can never happen to find). Gotta lotta bacon chilling in the fridge? Swap it for the pancetta to achieve equally satisfying results. The whole process is easy peasy- everything roasts in a hot oven, so you don’t have to worry about chicken fat splattering all over your stovetop. The hardest part is remembering to add the wine and olives halfway through cooking! So simple. Special enough for company but easy enough for a Wednesday night, this meal can be dressed up or down. Every time I prepare this stellar supper, the chicken is flavorful and juicy, but I think my favorite part of the dish may be the sauce. Holy moly- it’s liquid gold! I go weak in the knees for the sweet, soft garlic cloves, savory pancetta chunks, and fruity olives...omg y’all. I’m smacking my lips just writing that. Make sure you serve the thighs over something that will soak up all those delicious juices and/or offer lots of bread for mopping the remnants off the bottom of your plate. Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to use your tongue to lick it clean too!
prep time: 15 min. cook time: 45 min. serves: 4-6
3/3.5 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 8 large)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb thick cut pancetta, diced
8-10 garlic cloves, gently smashed and peeled
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
INSTRUCTIONS Preheat the oven to 450° with a rack in the middle. Place the thighs skin side up in a large baking dish and blot the tops dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, red pepper, black pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Rub the herb paste all over the thighs, massaging into the tops and bottoms and return them skin side up to the baking dish. Scatter the pancetta and garlic cloves on top of and around the chicken. Place the dish in the oven to roast for 20 minutes, until the thighs are just beginning to brown. Remove the dish from the oven and pour the wine around (not on top of) the chicken. Scatter the olives on top. Place everything back in the oven to roast another 20-25 minutes, until the chicken registers 175° and the skin is brown and crisp. Serve hot!