Crispy chicken thighs in a creamy, garlic-spinach sauce. All made in one skillet!
- 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ cups half and half
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 6 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- Rice or bread for serving
- Season 6 chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large pan (cast iron is great for this) and arrange chicken in cold pan, skin side down, in a single layer.
- Turn heat to medium-high and cook fo 10-12 minutes, until skin is golden brown and releases from pan (if chicken wants to stick, let it keep cooking until it releases more easily). Remove chicken from pan.
- Pour off chicken fat into a small bowl (but don't throw away!)and gently wipe pan to get any too-browned bits.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of chicken fat back into pan, along with 1 cup diced onions. Cook over medium heat until onions are light brown. Add 6 cloves, minced garlic and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute.
- Add 1 cup of half-and-half and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and remaining ½ cup half-and-half. Slowly whisk into pan, and let simmer until slightly thickened.
- Add 6 cups roughly chopped spinach and ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (if using). Stir to combine and cook for any additional 5 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
- Transfer chicken back to pan, skin-side up, and let cook for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Turn off heat and add lemon juice before serving.
- Serve with rice or bread to sop up that sauce!
One of the big struggles of my life (and I promise you now you can go ahead and file this under #firstworldproblems) is finding that balance between wanting something absolutely delicious for dinner vs. wanting to crawl under a table and live there forever after a long day at work.
Honestly, both sound great. Can I eat under that table? Perfect.
What I'm saying is that even I, a person obsessed with cooking, struggle to find the energy some days. Yes, cooking is my way to decompress after a hard day. But do you know another way to decompress? Eating microwave popcorn while watching episodes of New Girl.
With that said, I DO think it's possible to cook meals that are easy, nourishing and (most importantly) seriously delicious even after an absolutely crazy day (of which I seem to be having more and more frequently).
This creamed spinach chicken skillet is the perfect example of that. Crispy, crispy chicken thighs swimming in a creamy, garlicky spinach sauce. YES PLEASE. It comes together surprisingly quickly (getting that chicken skin to crisp up takes the longest amount of time - after that the rest is a breeze), and can be served with basically anything. Rice, bread, roasted vegetables, you name it!
A few tips to really make this a weeknight wonder:
- Use my favorite cold-pan method from Bon Appetit to get the crispiest skin imaginable. By starting skin-side down in a COLD pan, you allow the fat to render out slowly and keep that skin in contact with the pan vs. curling up. Also, less splatter! As you can see in my photos, some of my skin tore a little bit but I don't care because SEE HOW CRISPY??
- This method also means your cooking your chicken almost all the way through while you prep the rest of the ingredients, so your sauce comes together so quickly!
- You can use either half-and-half or whole milk in this sauce to make sure it's super creamy. If you're looking for something plant-based, I'd suggest coconut milk. It won't taste like coconut, and will still give you that creaminess the former two provide. Don't forget that little bit of cornstarch to thicken everything up.
Weeknight chicken dinner winner!