His pan-roasted chicken thighs remain a hit at the Washington, D.C., restaurant today, even though he has moved on. They have that winning ratio of rich-tasting meat and crisped skin, and are graced by piquant preserved lemon and mild Castelvetrano olives in the quick pan sauce.
As Wright has learned, a pinch of sugar at the end rounds things out nicely.
ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PRESERVED LEMON AND OLIVES
A rich chicken broth or stock is one that has been concentrated for extra flavor - typically by reducing it at a boil for 30 minutes or so.
Serve with a sauteed pea and mushroom mix or roasted asparagus.
- 4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black or white pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 sprig each fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
- 3/4 cup chicken broth, preferably rich (see headnote)
- Rind of 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed and cut into very thin strips (julienne; see TIP)
- 6 to 10 pitted Castelvetrano olives, cut into halves or quarters
- 2 tablespoons unsalted margarine
- Pinch sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper all over.
Heat the oil in a medium, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the chicken thighs, skin sides down. Cook just long enough so the skin is crisped and lightly browned at the edges. Use tongs to turn the thighs skin sides up, then transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 5 to 7 minutes, just until cooked through (registering an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
Transfer the pan back to the stove top (medium heat). Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, using a spatula to move the chicken around and dislodge any browned bits, then toss in the crushed garlic clove and herb sprigs. Stir in the broth, making sure the level of liquid stays below the crisped chicken skins; cook for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Discard the garlic and herbs.
Stir in the julienne of preserved lemon and the olives (both to taste). Reduce the heat to medium-low; stir in the margarine so the liquid turns into a silky sauce. Add the sugar, then taste, and adjust the salt and/or pepper, as needed. Serve hot.