Hit and Run Chicken Thigh Tray Bake

by Peachy Palate on March 25, 2015

Moist tender garlic chicken, lots of herbs and crispy golden skin…roast thigh perfection! Served on a bed of tomatoes and red pepper, the thighs sit on the veggies dousing them with their juices…served up in a mighty bowl it’s a dish that screams summer sunshine!

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Aside from the wings which are clearly in a league of their own chicken thighs are my favourite part of a roast chicken. When I can I opt for just buying them on their own. Always bone in and skin on…the latter of which is more important because letting that skin go to waste would be just that; crispy glorious buttery deliciousness. I go in with the intention of saving some for the last bite but inevitably it gets devoured one or two bites in.

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I had a few comments recently on those beautiful lemon rosemary chicken thighs, singing their praises, so of course I’ve been craving them like nothing on this earth! It’s darn hard to get your hands of 6 organic chicken thighs, so it took a little while to come to fruition!

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I’ve had a busy few weeks with work, not necessarily more hours, just hours travelling, my mornings taken up and not a whole lot of time to food prep or recipe test. The likes of this chicken tray bake is ideal for bunging in the oven of an evening and reaping the leftover rewards for a couple of days. The recipe might say serves 3-4…it served one in my case, three meals, two mighty sized thighs per serving. The amount of meat on the beautiful organic chicken thighs is incredible in comparison to the standard everyday cheaper, but my god is she fooling herself chicken, that my mum buys!

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There truly is no comparison!

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The key to the perfect crispy skin is pan searing the thighs before they hit the oven…a crucial step well worth the little bit of effort. The garlic butter under the skin is of course sheer indulgence as these thighs don’t need much more than a simple roast; the meat is so incredibly moist and tender. I am all for a little indulgence especially where clarified butter is involved.

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All cooked in the same tray, tomatoes, peppers…both of which will be like no other you’ve ever tasted. Buttery, melt in the mouth, lightly charred around the edges…a little handful of fresh greens to soak up the juices and your good to go; fresh fragrant basil makes the dish complete.

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Winner winner chicken dinner!!! The leftovers were incredible, veggies, chicken, reheated in a pan with friend eggs, the others chopped over a mighty salad with chunks of buttery avocado and toasted walnuts. Now they’re some leftovers to look forward to.

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What’s your favourite hassle free tray bake dinner?

Herbed Garlic Butter Chicken Tray Bake

by Michelle Hunt

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: roast entree gluten-free grain free low-carb nut-free paleo chicken thighs tomatoes ghee

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 6 tbsp of clarified butter softened but not melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped and remaining cloves skins intact for roasting
  • 1/4 cup 60ml) olive oil + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each, dried thyme, parsley + oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 heaped cup of cherry/baby plum tomatoes, whole
  • 1/2 a red, orange and yellow bell pepper chopped in to chunks
  • Fresh basil and mixed leaves to serve


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).

Combine garlic and butter, add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with about a tablespoon of the butter mixture, gently spreading it underneath the skin and on top of the chicken thigh. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Cook thighs, in batches if necessary, skin side down without moving for 8-10 minutes. Add remaining tbsp of olive oil after the first round of skin crisping!

Place the tomatoes and pepper chunks in large roasting tray. Place the chicken thighs on top.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon zest, thyme, parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Brush the mixture over the skin of the chicken, reserve any extra for brushing on while cooking. Drizzle a little of it over the veg that lies beneath. If desired, scatter a few garlic cloves in between the chicken on the roasting pan. Roast for 25 -30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked throughout and the skin is golden. It will depend on the size of the chicken thighs. Brush chicken with a little more of the oil as it cooks and before serving.

Serve chicken with fresh greens and garnished with fresh basil.

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