RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
I have been of a crispy chicken thigh kick as of late. Just simple seasoned bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, seasoned well with one of my In The Kitchen With Scotty seasoning blends (of course) and cooked until the skin is nice and crispy and the meat tender and juicy.
Pairing those delicious crispy thighs to other components to make a complete meal has been one of discovery. Not that you need to fluff up a deliciously cooked crispy thigh, but this part of culinary exploration is the fun part… and hopefully why you’re checking out this recipe.
So before I get too “wordy” on you, and I know you’re just here for the recipe, let me tell you about how I’m crisping up my chicken thighs. Yes, it is simple enough to start the thighs out in a hot pan, with a little oil, place then skin side down, and cook until crispy. Of course you can do that, but it really doesn’t add much flavor back into the meat, and that meathod of searing is just beneficial for one reason: A quick brown and quick crisp (that was two reasons).
My theory of starting the thighs out, seasoned and skin side down in a cold pan, harkens back to the method of rendering out fat. Just as you would render out fat in bacon or salt pork for lardons, rendering out the fat from chicken thighs not only crispens the skin but almost acts as the Confit method of cooking meat in its own fat. Thus allowing the meat tenderness, juiciness, and a lot more flavor! So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
With all of that said, let's get on to the recipe, and I’ll explain more down the line.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Orzo Pasta, Olives, Capers, and Feta Cheese
Ingredients: Serves 2-4
2 pounds (give or take) Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs
3 tablespoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” (Or kosher salt and black pepper)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups dry Orzo pasta
1 cup cut/halved grape tomatoes.
3 large fresh garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon dry red chili flakes
3 cups unsalted Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (2 teaspoons dry oregano may be substituted)
1/2 cup greek/Mediterranean olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Fresh Basil to garnish, chopped or chiffonade
In a small bowl combine the Cook’s Line seasoning along with the smoked paprika. Stir to mix evenly. Remove the chicken thighs and pat dry.
In a heavy bottom and high sided pan, such as a cast iron pan or dutch oven, add the dry orzo pasta and begin toasting until golden and fragrant. Stir continuously as not to burn the pasta. Remove the tasted orzo to a bowl and set aside. Let the pan cool while you gather ingredients for the rest of the dish.
Season your chicken thighs well with the seasoning mix you just blended. Place the thighs skin side down in the same dry (no oil) heavy bottomed pan, THEN start to heat. Starting the thighs out in a cold, dry pan slowly renders out the fat in the chicken thighs and crisps the skin. Cook the thighs slowly for 15-20 minutes until the bottom of the pan has rendered out the natural fat of the thigh and the chicken skin is crisp. Turn the thighs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the crispy thighs to a platter and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour out and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings.
To the pan add the chopped fresh garlic and red chili pepper flakes. Stir and cook until fragrant. Add the chicken stock along with the halved grape tomatoes. Bring to a boil then add the toasted orzo pasta. Stir in the fresh chopped oregano and slowly simmer the pasta for five minutes. Add the capers and sliced olives, stir to mix evenly.
Add the crispy chicken thighs to the pan. Place the entire pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the chicken thighs are cooked and the orzo pasta tender. Remove the pan from the oven.
Sprinkle on the crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh basil. Serve up immediately and enjoy!