Every now and then the Accidental Locavore needs an undemanding dinner idea. This one with chicken, lemons, bread and caper berries looked interesting. The fact that you just tossed everything on a cookie sheet and popped it in the oven made it even more appealing. Serves 4:
- 1/2 pound sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces
- 4 large shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 3/4 cup drained caperberries
- 2 lemons, washed and quartered lengthwise
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Salt and pepper
- 8 chicken thighs (with skin and bones)
Preheat oven to 400°. On a large baking sheet, toss the bread, shallots, caperberries and lemons in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the chicken thighs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken on the bread and roast for about 40 minutes until the thighs reach 160 with an instant-read thermometer. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: I thought these were great, but Frank wasn’t as enthusiastic. Could be because I took the roasted lemon quarters and squeezed it over the chicken and he didn’t. Could be because he’s not a caperberry fan. Could be _____. If you’re like Frank and not a fan of caperberries (or don’t have them taking up room in the fridge), you could use capers (I would sprinkle them in about 10 minutes before the chicken was done or else they might end up singed), or a nice mix of olives. One of the things I liked was that the bread under the chicken was soft, like stuffing, where the rest of the bread was crunchy. We managed to get a great loaf of Peasant French bread from Berkshire Mountain Bakery at the Millerton Farmers’ Market, which added to the taste. This is a recipe that you could easily play with to suit your taste, and the contents of your fridge. I used chicken thighs, the original recipe from Food and Wine called for whole legs, but Frank is not a leg man (where poultry is concerned). If you use whole legs or breasts, just increase the cooking time accordingly. A technical note — my baking sheets are the classic aluminum ones, which reacted with the lemon. Next time I’ll probably toss everything in a bowl with the olive oil and line the pan with parchment, it’ll be easier cleanup, too.
Made this a second time and threw some broccoli in the mix. Tossed everything in a bowl and then on a parchment-lined pan. Again delicious! This time I didn’t use the convection setting on the oven and the skin of the chicken wasn’t as crispy, so if you have a convection setting, use it.