These chicken thighs roast to a golden brown perfection atop fennel, apple, red onion and sweet potato. What’s even better than that is it only uses one pan to get the job done. Exotic in aroma and warm to the senses, Chinese Five Spice is a rich spice blend that’s used in a basting sauce for these Five Spice Roasted Chicken Thighs.
These’s a bit of a chill out in the early mornings when I take the boys out for their daily run at the park. As I walk around and watch the sunrise I contemplate upcoming days and meals, the holidays and family. Holidays always bring back fond memories of my mom’s big family get togethers and all the relatives singing, drinking and laughing. And eating. 🙂 We have a large Irish family.
Anybody else doing that? I mean, it’s rare that San Diego gets cool, but it makes me think that a cup of hot Mexican Hot Chocolate is in order and definitely easy, comfort food meals. While comfort food can mean added calories, sometimes it doesn’t have to.
That to me means more roasted vegetables and meals that are either one pan, done in the pressure cooker or the slow cooker. There are lots of them I’m sharing with you this season and many more that are in the works. This one has a bit of a twist with the wonderful Chinese Five spice blend.
The warm spices in the blend are perfect for Fall, and to switch up the usual fare, I thought a Chinese influence on delicious roasted chicken thighs was perfect. The spices in the blend are star anise, clove, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper (Szechuan) and fennel seeds. Most of these are used in the typical Fall and Winter baking so they are not that big of a surprise.
To make this complete I roasted the chicken on a bed of Fall vegetables, namely fennel, apples, red onion and sweet potatoes. I add a pinch of red pepper flakes, but feel free to omit if you like.
The vegetables get savory, caramelized and reach a nice sweetness. Paired with the delicious chicken it’s a wonderful dinner. I use bone-in skin on chicken thighs. I think they have a richer flavor than a chicken breast, but by all means use a chicken breast. I love them, too!
I keep the skin on when roasting chicken because the skin renders it’s fat and bastes the chicken, keeping it moist. When serving I take the skin off and dig in!
Halfway through roasting I baste again with the chicken broth, butter, honey and Five Spice mixture to ensure a flavorful and golden brown texture. Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb with feathery stalks
- 1 in large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/4-. slices
- 1 in medium red onion cut lengthwise into 1/3-.-wide slices
- 2 large Honey Crisp apples (See Note 1)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 in bone-skin-on chicken thighs (1.5 lbs total)
- Basting sauce:
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut off fennel stalks and set aside feathery leaves. Trim base of bulb and tough outer layers. Halve bulb lengthwise, cut out core in a V, and cut bulb lengthwise into slim wedges.
Brush olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and arrange fennel, sweet potatoes, onion and apples in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, black and red pepper flakes.
- Arrange chicken on top, skin side up. In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, butter, honey, Chinese Five Spice powder, soy sauce. Brush half of sauce onto chicken.
Roast 15 minutes, then baste again with sauce and any pan juices (use a bulb baster or wide spoon). Continue to roast until chicken is nicely browned and no longer pink at bone (cut to test or 165°F), 15 to 20 minutes more. Baste everything again and scatter reserved fennel leaves on top.
1. Honey Crisp or other firm/tart apples, unpeeled, cored, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges