Juicy chicken thighs are coated in a bold tomato rub with lots of fresh garlic and warm, earthy spices including smoked paprika and cumin, and brightened with a hint of lemon juice. The whole thing comes together in a flash — simply chop some veggies and season everything with the tomato rub. Toss it into a sheet pan and roast.
There is nothing complicated about the ingredient list either. You just need some spices, chickpeas, vegetables, and chicken. For more heat, use hot smoked paprika instead. It lends itself well to customizations, so feel free to swap out carrots for other root veggies like beets or parsnips, or add potatoes or sweet potatoes for more heft.
While we did start out piling everything on one sheet pan (against out better judgement), after 30 minutes in the oven, we transferred the chicken thighs on another prepared baking sheet and covered with foil. The reason being, the vegetables were steaming instead of roasting. The veggies went back into the oven to continue cooking until fork tender and beginning to brown slightly, another 10-15 minutes. As the vegetable tray was roasting, we then popped the thighs, uncovered, under the broiler (we have a 2-oven stove).
Next time, we may start with dividing everything between 2 sheet pans from the start. You may prep ahead by chopping the vegetables and making the sauce. Just refrigerate them until ready to begin cooking.
FYI, we are using boneless skinless chicken thighs here, but bone-in thighs or boneless skinless breasts would work as well. Since boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook in about 18 minutes in the oven, you will need to roast your vegetables for about 10 minutes first, then add the breasts. Otherwise, the carrots won’t cook in time.
6 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, halved and cut into ½ inch slices
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat if necessary
Position one rack in the center of the oven and another one 4 or 5 inches under the broiler. Preheat the oven to 425°F
Prepare the tomato rub: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, paprika, and Aleppo pepper. Whisk well to combine.
Prepare the chicken and vegetables: Lightly brush a large sheet pan with some of the olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, onions, and chickpeas. Season well with salt and black pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Add 4 tablespoons of the tomato rub and a small drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon), and mix well to coat. Transfer the mixture to the sheet pan. Set bowl aside for chicken.
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Place the chicken in the reserved bowl and add the remaining tomato mixture, tossing until the chicken is well coated.
Transfer the chicken to the sheet pan(s) along with the chickpeas and vegetables. Roast on the center rack until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes (ours took more like 45 minutes). Then move the sheet pan up to the top rack directly under the heat and broil until the chicken gains some color, 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully. The onions and carrots may also gain some char.
Serve with your favorite rustic bread, if desired.
Thai stir-fries are one of our favorite go-to’s; and this recipe rachetes it up a notch with the addition of Thai cashews (find them at Trader Joe’s). And if you like bold flavors, then this will end up on your short list.
Originally from Milk Street, we scaled back on the chicken by 25%, but increased the bell pepper quotient by 100%, adding a yellow one along with the red pepper, making it more veggie-forward. Another change was doubling the sauce (except for the garlic). These alterations are noted in the recipe below.
And while you could pair it simply with steamed jasmine rice, you might want to try the Coconut Rice recipe below for even more depth of flavor.
I have to give a shout-out to these fabulous Trader Joe’s Thai cashews. Not only are they a fabulous snack right out of the bag, but they’re perfect for this dish. If you can get your hands on them, by all means do so.
NOTE: Don’t discard the marinade after draining the chicken. It’s mixed with ¼ cup water and becomes a sauce that lightly coats the chicken and vegetables.
1 1⁄2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths; save some of the dark green cut into smaller pieces for garnish
1/2 cup roasted Thai cashews, roughly chopped
Start coconut rice, directions below.
For the Stir-fry: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, pepper flakes and 3/4 teaspoon white pepper. Stir in the chicken, then marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Drain the chicken in a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, pressing the chicken to remove excess marinade. Stir 1/2 cup water into the marinade and set aside.
In a 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in an even layer, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
Heat a bit more oil in the wok, stir in the bell peppers and scallions. Stir-fry for several minutes until just starting to brown. Add chicken back to the veggies.
Stir the marinade mixture to recombine, add to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Toss in the cashew pieces, cook, stirring often, until the liquid thickens and clings to the chicken, about 2 minutes.
Taste and season with white pepper. Spoon over cooked coconut rice and garnish with scallion greens.