These Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables are a great way to welcome the warmer months with seasonal ingredients. It’s loaded with juicy, perfectly cooked chicken, crisp peas and asparagus, all tossed in a rich and creamy leek and lemon pan sauce. It’s great on its own or with a side of mixed greens. It’s hearty and filling but won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
What You Need for these Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables
- Chicken: I think the best flavour and juiciness comes from using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. They’re incredibly forgiving to cook with and don’t dry out as easily as chicken breast. However, you can just as easily substitute bone-in and skin-on chicken breast or drumsticks.
If using large, boneless and skinless chicken breasts, you can use the same pan-roasting technique but keep in mind that the meat will cook much quicker. If using smaller breasts, you can probably cook the chicken all the way through on the pan, without needing to finish the cooking in the oven or grill.
- Leeks: Save the shallots and onions for the colder months and try using fresh leeks instead. They’re in-season and add a delicious sweetness to the pan sauce.
- Garlic: As always, measure this ingredient with your heart and don’t let anyone ever tell you that there’s such a thing as too much.
- Fresh Peas: You can shuck them yourself or purchase shelled peas, sometimes called English peas. You can, of course, substitute frozen peas but the beauty of cooking this recipe in the Spring is that fresh peas are in-season and taste much better than frozen.
- Asparagus: Because the asparagus will be cut into smaller pieces, you can use thick or thin stalks.
- Chicken Bone Broth: To get the most out of your pan-roasted chicken thighs, try using a chicken bone broth for the pan sauce. Unlike regular chicken broth, bone broth is slowly cooked for upwards of 12 hours. Not only does it intensify the chicken flavour, but it is also loaded with gut-healing collagen.
- Butter or Ghee: If you want to keep this recipe entirely Paleo and Whole30, substitute the butter in the recipe with ghee. The flavour will be slightly more pronounced but it will still be delicious!
- Dijon Mustard: Adding a nice spoonful of good-quality Dijon mustard to your pan sauce will completely transform the flavours. It adds tang, a bit of a kick and a beautiful golden colour.
- Lemon: Use both the zest and the juice of a fresh lemon. The acidity cuts through the richness of the chicken, bone broth and butter. It also wakes up the flavours in the peas and asparagus.
- Chives and Dill: Garnish the pan-roasted chicken thighs with some finely chopped fresh chives and dill for an added layer of colour and flavour.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables
- 1.5 cups shelled fresh peas
- 1 pound asparagus sliced into 1” pieces on a bias
- Kosher salt
- 6 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 large leek white and light green parts only, peeled, washed and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1.5 cups chicken bone broth
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter substitute ghee
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh dill roughly torn
- Preheat oven or Traeger grill to 425F. If using a gas or charcoal grill, set up a 2-zone heat.
- Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Season the water with a large pinch of salt and add the peas and asparagus. Cook until the vegetables are bright green and slightly tender, around 3 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water to set the colour and stop the cooking process. Drain completely and set aside.
- Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat.
- Preheat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs skin-side down at first. Cook, undisturbed, until the skin is golden brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and transfer the skillet to the oven or Traeger. If using a gas or charcoal grill, place the skillet over the indirect-heat side. Cook until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165F, around 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
- Return the same pan to a medium heat. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of rendered fat. Add the leeks and season with a small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the leeks are slightly softened, around 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 60 seconds. Add the bone broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Cook, stirring to incorporate, until reduced in volume by ¼. Add the cold butter and stir quickly to emulsify. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, lemon or mustard, as desired.
- Return the peas and asparagus to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce until warmed through. Spoon half of the vegetables onto a serving platter. Arrange the chicken thighs on top and spoon the remaining vegetables and sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh chives and dill and serve immediately.