Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Warm Panzanella Salad (GF Option!)
This one-pan dinner of perfectly roasted chicken thighs with a warm bread salad is comfort food at its very best. The chicken thighs are roasted over wedges of fennel and red onion, torn kale leaves, chunks of baguette (which toast up in the oven) and lemon wedges (which turn caramelized and sweet), imparting flavor to the chicken (and vice versa). The vegetables and bread are then tossed with a roasted garlic vinaigrette to make an irresistible salad to accompany the chicken. Heaven! For a gluten-free version, use a small gluten-free baguette, such as Udi’s brand (half of a 8.4-ounce package).
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 4 people
- 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 1 medium fennel bulb, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 4 cups coarsely torn Tuscan kale leaves, from about 1 small bunch
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 small lemon, preferably organic
- 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 French baguette or 1 small gluten-free baguette (such as Udi’s brand), torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups torn)
- 6-8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil (if using foil, rub it lightly with oil or spray it with cooking spray).
In a large bowl, combine the onion, fennel, kale and garlic cloves. Using a microplane, zest the lemon and add the zest to the bowl. Thinly slice the lemon into rings and pop out the seeds. Add the lemon slices to the bowl, and drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well to coat. Spread the vegetables on the prepared sheet pan. Arrange the torn baguette pieces evenly over top.
In the same bowl you used for the vegetables (no need to wash it), add the chicken thighs, oregano, paprika, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well to coat the chicken. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on top of the vegetables and bread on the sheet pan.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate (it won’t be fully cooked yet). Gently stir the vegetables and bread on the baking sheet. Rearrange the chicken on top, positioning any darkened pieces of bread under the chicken. Roast 12-15 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reads 165-170 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. If you’re using a gluten-free baguette, slide the pan back in the oven for 2-4 minutes to crisp up the bread (there’s no need to do this if using a regular baguette, as it holds up better). Pick the garlic cloves off the sheet pan, and squeeze them into a mini food processor or small blender (alternatively, if the garlic cloves are soft enough and/or if you’re feeling lazy, mash them up with a fork). Add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and process again until incorporated.
Scrape the vegetables and bread into a large bowl, and drizzle with about half of the dressing. Toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste (feel free to add more dressing if you think it needs it). Spoon the salad into shallow bowls or onto plates. Arrange 1-2 pieces of chicken on top, and drizzle with a bit more dressing. Serve any additional dressing at the table.