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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Thyme Compote

In this dish, fresh sweet cherries, a summer favorite, are lightly cooked to make chunky compote flavored with herbal thyme and enriched with the chicken’s pan juices. Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar add hints of caramel-like flavor. The compote’s lively taste balances the rich flavor of the burnished-brown roasted chicken thighs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 3 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 3 1/4 lb. total
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh Bing cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large flameproof roasting pan. 


In a small bowl, stir together 2 tsp. of the thyme, the 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Brush the chicken thighs with the 2 Tbs. olive oil and season with the thyme mixture. Arrange the thighs, skin side up, in the prepared roasting pan. 


Roast the chicken until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat, away from the bone, registers 170°F, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Set the pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the shallot is softened, about 1 minute. Add the cherries and cook, stirring often, until they are warm and begin to give off their juices, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and the remaining 1 tsp. thyme and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer the compote to a serving bowl. 


Serve the chicken immediately and pass the compote at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).