Have you hopped on the chicken thigh bandwagon yet? If not, I think this easy recipe might be your one way ticket, no looking back. Like many, I grew up a child of the late 80’s, where fat was considered the devil and Jane Fonda was every woman’s 6:00 am pal. A typical “healthy” dinner consisted of baked chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and a sprinkle of reduced-calorie cheese, a glass of raspberry Crystal Light to wash it down. Oof.
Thank goodness we’ve taken back the roots of cooking and embraced both techniques and ingredients that let real food shine. These Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs are a testament to both.
I’ll be honest, chicken thighs seemed a little intimidating before I made them the first time. With skin-on and bone-in, how exactly do I do this? With help from Bon Appetit and my cast iron skillet, juicy chicken with salty, crispy skin was just 20 minutes away. The most important piece is starting with a smoking hot pan and searing them skin side down to render out the fat, and give the thighs something to “fry” in. Think about it – this is why you love bacon.
And don’t forget to let those babies rest, just like you would with steak. This holds in all the flavor and lets the salt permeate into the meat.
I could have served the finger lickin’ good thighs just like that, but another little trick is making a quick sauce from whatever jam or preserves you have. I’ve learned that fruit brightens and balances meat really well, working harmoniously together. Ever notice why good restaurant meals are never heavy in one taste and lacking in another?
With little effort thanks to apricot preserves from Cascadian Farm Organic, this basil infused glaze brought this meal from really good to “kick the table” delicious. A quick simmer with minced shallots, white wine vinegar and a little dijon mustard is all it takes. And if apricot isn’t your favorite, this would work well with any 1/2 empty jars of jam you have sitting in your refrigerator too.
Smothered on the crispy chicken after it comes off the pan, a sticky texture with a sweet & savory twist emerges.
Hope you join me on the chicken thigh bandwagon, and if you make these in your kitchen, tag me on instagram, @amanda_paa so I can see your creations!
Many thanks to Cascadian Farm for sponsoring this post, a company I regularly use in my kitchen. I’m so grateful they provide all of us with accessible, organic fruits and vegetables. And thank you for understanding that I carefully choose the brands I work with that help make this site possible. All opinions are 100% my own.
Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs
I served the chicken with roasted purple cabbage wedges, which I’ve been loving, and I think they almost need their post. But for a quick method, just cut the core out of the cabbage, slice 1/2 inch thick slices, then coat both sides with olive oil and salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 25 minutes and this heavenly side dish is ready.
1 1/4 pounds, or about 3 bone-in & skin-on chicken thighs (pasture-raised)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
Apricot Basil Glaze
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smooth dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Cascadian Farm Organic apricot preserves
2 tablespoons minced basil
Rub chicken thighs with 1 tablespoons olive oil and salt, then let sit while you prepare the sauce so that they come close to room temperature.
For sauce, heat olive oil to medium high heat in a small saucepan. Add shallot and salt, cooking for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in mustard, vinegar and preserves. Lightly simmer for 5-6 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in basil and turn off heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium high heat in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet. Wait until very hot, then add chicken thighs skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn heat down to medium and continue to cook for 8 more minutes so that it can “fry” in it’s own fat, until skin is golden brown. Flip and cook for 10 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven and cook for 8-10 minutes longer, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear. Transfer to a plate, smother with glaze, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.