Chicken thighs swimming in a delicious white wine sauce with garlic and lemon and blistered tomatoes. Hello, fancy dinner!
Tell me what you did for Labor Day! We usually go to the beach or River for the long weekend, but this year we decided to change things up a bit and head a few hours west to the mountains of NC. I’m so glad we did. The drive was a bit shorter and it was fun to explore a different part of the state. Some of the leaves were just beginning to turn, giving us a little glimpse of how beautiful it will be in a few weeks.
On Sunday we found our way to an apple orchard and I had the best time walking through the rows of apples, eating apple cider donuts (y’all!!!), and drinking apple slushies. Also, true to form, I bought WAY too many apples, so get ready for all the apple recipes coming at you soon.
But today we aren’t here to talk about apples, we’re here to discuss the other late summer bounty that I cannot get enough of – cherry tomatoes! My grandparents have a beautiful little garden next to their house and they are harvesting these perfectly round cherry tomato gems and giving them out freely to anyone who stops by. I love being home!
The other day I had a bag sitting on my counter and a package of chicken thighs thawing in my fridge and this dinner was born! I love what happens to tomatoes when they are roasted the oven – their sweetness is intensified, their skins get blistered and chewy, they burst and release this amazing tomato juice.
All of that makes for the perfect base for a delicious roasted chicken dinner. This is my favorite kind of dinner to serve to company or on a night where I want things to feel special – we look very fancy with our chicken thighs in a skillet swimming in white wine sauce and topped with blistered cherry tomatoes. Nobody else has to know we used just one skillet and the dish cooked away in the oven while we polished our pearls.
Here’s how this happens. We start by tossing tomatoes in a skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The tomatoes roast in the oven until they are just starting to burst and the skins are starting to char. At that point, the skillet will come out of the oven and we will set the tomatoes to the side. Now it’s time to sear the chicken and there are just a couple things to know for successful searing:
1) Your pan should be hot. You can test it by touching just the side of the chicken thigh to the pan and listening. If you don’t hear an immediate sizzle, take the chicken back out and wait for the pan to heat more.
2) The chicken will tell you when it’s ready to turn. If we flip our chicken too early, we risk tearing the skin or ending up with chicken that’s not well browned. The skin will naturally release from the pan when it’s properly seared so the best way to tell if it’s done is to gently try to turn it – if it doesn’t release easily, it’s not ready to flip.
Once our chicken is seared, it’s time to make the delicious and glorious wine sauce. There are lots of good flavor bits on the bottom of the pan that we want in our dish so it’s time to deglaze the pan. Basically that means we gently and carefully pour a small amount of wine into the pan. The wine will bubble and steam and once it calms a bit, we can use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan then add in the rest of our wine, garlic, and lemon juice. About 10 seconds after you add the garlic to the pan, your entire kitchen will smell amazing!
The chicken and tomatoes go swimming in the sauce and the whole party goes in the oven to finish cooking, giving you plenty of time to pour your own glass of wine, watch Netflix, read a magazine, and revel in your housewife glory.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 4 chicken thighs (skin-on, bone-in)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Toss tomatoes with pinch of pepper, kosher salt, and light drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and place skillet in cold oven. Turn the oven to 400 and let tomatoes roast for 20 minutes (after oven comes to temperature).
- While tomatoes roast, dry chicken thighs with paper towels as much as possible. Season skid side generously with salt and pepper.
- Once the tomatoes have roasted, remove cast iron from oven, but keep oven on. Place skillet on burner turned to medium-high. Remove tomatoes and set aside.
- Add a light coating of olive oil to cast iron and let pan heat until you can't hold your hand over the pan for 5 seconds. You need a hot pan! Once hot, sear chicken thighs skin-side down and season the other side with salt and pepper. When the chicken easily lifts from the pan, it's ready to turn. The skin should be dark brown and sizzling. Turn chicken and sear bottom side for about 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- With pan still on medium-high heat, carefully pour in 1 cup of white wine (you can also use chicken stock). The wine will bubble and steam a bit, so be careful. Once the wine has settled, carefully grate garlic into wine using a microplane (if you don' have one, just mince the garlic and add that way). Stir the garlic in and then add the juice of one lemon. Your kitchen will smell amazing at this point!
- Return chicken thighs skin-side up and tomatoes to skillet. Spoon some of the sauce on to the thighs and return skillet to oven.
- Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove and serve immediately with tomatoes and sauce. Enjoy!
Psst. If chicken thighs with blistered tomatoes sounds delicious to you, please share this post with your friends!