Entertaining can be really stressful, especially if you’re a Virgo like me, so when in doubt I turn to oven roasted marinated chicken thighs for the perfect dinner on a hot Miami day. This recipe is for the garlic herb marinade with lots of lemon juice. Last Easter my mom gave me adorable planters painted grey with mint, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, and lavender. I freaking love having a little garden outside on the balcony! My garden comes in handy in times like these…I was cooking for around 8 people, so I decided to make chicken thighs because they are cost effective, juicy and delicious, and look impressive when done right.
As a general rule I never try to make anything on the stove top if I’m entertaining. It is a mistake for ANYONE to do, so you should probably avoid this too. It’s just messy, takes you away from your guests, and is 100% unnecessary. For the love of god, make the meal as much ahead of time as possible! You will be thanking wise self later. I made the marinade and let the chicken sit overnight before baking it to perfection. Yes, I know…you’re thinking grilling would be better- and it would be totally ideal…BUT standing over the hot grill in Miami? Trying to chat with family with kids running around while being distracted by flaming chicken? No thank you. Oven-roasted it is! I decided to serve this chicken with perfect couscous salad, pickled cucumbers and red onions, and the popular pull-apart garlic bread.
This marinade is classic and wonderful. I guarantee you will use it time and time again. Practically this entire meal can be thoroughly prepped in advance to make your life easier. For dessert we had vanilla bean ice cream with slice strawberries tossed in sugar and lemon juice with chopped toasted almonds (we had extra leftover from the couscous salad).
Herb Garlic Marinade
¼ cup Parsley
8-10 sprigs Thyme
1-2 sprigs Rosemary (you can also use oregano, marjoram, or tarragon)
4 Garlic Cloves
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 Lemons
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ teaspoon Dried Basil (just cause I felt like adding some)
Remove the herbs from the stems by pulling down the stem downwards to pull off the leaves and leave the stick remaining. Roughly chop the garlic cloves. Add garlic, herbs of your choice, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse the mixture until blended for less than 1 minute in your Cuisinart Food Processor – I like it to be a little chunky.
Since I had so much chicken to marinade I divided the chicken legs and thighs between 2 gallon Ziploc bags and poured the marinade on top. (I always place the Ziploc with the marinating meat in a plastic bag before putting it in the refrigerator. Raw meats should be stored on a separate shelf and not right next to fresh fruits or veggies! The extra bag helps too.)
Marinade the chicken overnight or up to 2 hours in advance. The longer the better! Bake in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes. The roasted chicken will be beautifully browned and crispy on top with lovely crisped herbs and juices in the pan (which you can spoon on top of the chicken!). Guten Appetit!