Chicken thighs are the favorite part of the bird for many people. They can be cooked in a number of different ways but when they are roasted and subsequently allowed to rest, they should be super tender and the flavor is extra special. Wrapping them in bacon for roasting serves both to help protect the tender flesh from the heat and impart even greater flavor in to the meat.
Ground fenugreek seeds represent a popular spice used in Asian cooking, especially Indian dishes. They have a very distinct but also very powerful flavor so the powder should always be used sparingly, especially when it is an ingredient with which you are not particularly familiar. They also give off a very powerful but not in any way unpleasant aroma which can linger for a while after the meal is served.
Roast chicken thighs in bacon with roast potatoes and fenugreek spiced warm bean salad
The bacon used in this recipe is typical British bacon, taken from the back of the pig rather than the belly. It can be bought smoked or unsmoked and is much meatier than standard US bacon (which is known as smoked streaky bacon in the UK), so only two rashers were required to wrap each chicken thigh. If using US bacon, use three or four strips per thigh, or whatever may be required.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 6 to 8 baby new potatoes
- 2 large chicken thighs
- Black pepper
- 4 back bacon rashers (or bacon slices as required)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil plus extra for oiling roasting tray
- 1 tablespoon canned cannellini beans (navy beans could also be used instead)
- 8 to 10 green beans
- 1 medium size and strength red chili
- Ground fenugreek
Wash and if necessary scrub the potatoes clean but do not peel them at this stage. Add them to a pot of cold salted water and put the pot on a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a gentle to moderate simmer for twenty minutes or until the potatoes are just softened.
Drain the potatoes at your sink through a colander or sieve and allow them to steam off and partly cool for ten minutes. Cover and leave to cool completely.
It is important that the chicken thighs be skinned prior to being cooked as the bacon would prevent the skin from crisping. It would be soggy and unpleasant to eat, while removing it at the time of eating would prove awkward and an unnecessary inconvenience.
Fortunately, removing the skin from chicken thighs is a fairly easy procedure. Simply take hold of it at one edge and pull it off in one whole piece as you would the peel from a banana.
Season the chicken thighs well all over with black pepper only. Remember that the bacon will provide all the saltiness necessary.
Carefully wrap the skinned thighs with the bacon, ensuring the end flaps of the rashers/slices are tucked underneath.
Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Pour a little oil on to a roasting tray and wipe it all over with some scrunched up kitchen paper. A thin film of oil is all that is required to stop the thighs sticking to the tray during cooking.
Lift the wrapped thighs on to the roasting tray and season with a little more pepper. Put the tray in to the hot oven for half an hour.
When the chicken thighs are almost due to come out of the oven, carefully peel the skin from the cooled potatoes. This is best done with your fingers to avoid damaging the soft flesh.
It is of course vitally important to check the chicken is properly cooked. This can easily be done by inserting a metal skewer in to the thickest part and ensuring the juices run clear. If any red or pink traces remain, roast for five more minutes and test again in exactly the same way.
Lift the thighs with a spatula to a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest.
Put the potatoes on the roasting tray and remembering to wear oven gloves, give the tray a gentle shake to cover them all in the juices. Put the tray back in to the oven for twenty minutes, giving it a second gentle shake half way through cooking.
Put the green and cannellini beans in to a colander and rinse under running cold water. Trim the green beans and chop to one inch pieces. Finely slice the chili in to discs.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil in to a small non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add both types of beans and the sliced chili. Season with some black pepper and a similar amount of ground fenugreek.
Saute the beans over a medium heat for three or four minutes to ensure they are fully heated all the way through and to help the flavors combine.
Lift the rested chicken thighs to a serving plate. Remove the potatoes from the oven and lift them on to the plate with a slotted spoon before using the spoon to also plate the bean salad. Serve immediately.