Roasted Pepper-Glazed Chicken Thighs

My mother gave me her ancient cast iron skillet, complete with lid. If you've never cooked with cast iron, you probably don't realize why this gift brought me to tears. It is perfectly seasoned and has been feeding generations of my family for decades. Nothing moves so effortlessly from the stovetop to the oven or broiler (though this recipe is all in the oven). Nothing gives me the textures I crave this time of the year. Nothing makes a dinner bowl like this quite so easy:

I've covered making chicken thighs in the oven before, but this meal takes it a step further and takes cast iron cooking to multiple levels. It also just fills me with joy. The start of the sauce begins with peppers and garlic roasting in the oven and then the chicken gets roasted in the same pan, which means any extra flavor left in that pan gets to spend time with the thighs. Just thinking about it makes me want to make it all again!

I opted to make some rice and stir in some shredded black radish to use as a base for the chicken to rest on. Alongside, shredded carrots got tossed with honey, rice vinegar, and black sesame seeds. That splash of color paired well with the bright sauce the chicken is sporting as well. Add a pint of your favorite beer and call it a glorious way to warm yourself and your family in the middle of winter!

Roasted Pepper-Glazed Chicken Thighs

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 small bulb garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone in and skin on)

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and chop coarsely. Slice off the very top of the bulb of garlic, leaving the cloves attached to the base of the bulb. Place the peppers and garlic in a cast iron skillet and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the peppers to coat fully. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are soft and a bit darkened and the garlic cloves are soft and nearly caramelized. Remove the pepper and garlic to a plate to cool.

Place the chicken thighs skin side up in the hot cast iron skillet and return to the hot oven. Roast for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, remove the cloves of garlic from their skins (you should be able to just press them gently out of each clove) and place them and the roasted peppers into a food processor. Process until smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary to make it smooth. Set aside.

When the chicken has been roasting for 30 minutes, carefully remove the skillet and brush the roasted red pepper sauce generously over the thighs. Reserve about a half cup of the sauce for garnishing at the table. Return the chicken to the oven and roast another 30 minutes.

Serve the chicken over hot rice or noodles and alongside a fresh vegetable slaw or salad. Spoon a bit of the reserved sauce over each chicken thigh before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes