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Home on the Range: Garlicky Chicken, Potatoes and Kale

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Garlicky chicken, potatoes and kale - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Garlicky chicken, potatoes and kale
The arrival of colder, shorter days always heralds comfort-food season. This year, I'd wager many of us are craving comfort like never before.

For me, comfort means warming, one-pot meals that are often centered around the vegetable share from our longtime community-supported agriculture membership. I mostly supplement with ingredients from other local farmers, though I am not a purist and happily welcome citrus, spices, olive oil, chickpeas, coconut milk, seafood and other faraway items, too.

At my last Intervale Community Farm pick-up, I selected small, golden-fleshed potatoes and a slender bunch of dark green lacinato kale. I also had on hand a fat head of Last Resort Farm garlic grown in Monkton; loads of fresh thyme from my garden; and some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs from Maple Wind Farm in Richmond.



Often, I spread potatoes and sturdy vegetables on a sheet pan with chicken pieces to roast everything up together at 400 degrees or higher until they're all deeply caramelized.

But this time, I wanted the garlic to soften and mellow like it does in the classic chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Roasting everything at high heat without any liquid would have risked bitter garlic.

Mixing the vegetables by hand - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Mixing the vegetables by hand
Instead, I picked a shallow baking dish and added some chicken broth in which the garlic, potatoes and kale could do more of a braising thing, while the chicken pieces roasted on top.

Every mouthful warmed me to the core. As the meal delivered deep nourishment, it also provided a grounding connection to farmers who are doing their best to raise food in ways that support the land and the community. It won't fix everything, but I'll take every little bit of comfort I can cook up.

Garlicky Chicken, Potatoes and Kale

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2½ to 3 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed, not peeled, cut into one-inch cubes (sub: sweet potatoes or cubed winter squash)
  • 1 large bulb garlic, cloves peeled and halved if very large
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves sliced into ribbons (sub: chard or collards)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (sub: rosemary or sage)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ lemon, or 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and trim any excess fat or skin if desired. (Kitchen shears are my MVP for this task.) Sprinkle the chicken pieces with about 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Dust them with the paprika and set aside on a plate while prepping the vegetables.
  2. In a 9-by-13 baking dish, toss together the potatoes, garlic cloves, kale ribbons, and thyme with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt plus more grinds of pepper. (I like to use my hands.)
  3. Pour the chicken stock over the vegetables. Nestle the chicken thighs into the vegetables making sure the skin is exposed. Drizzle the chicken skin with the final tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Cook for 45-50 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the chicken skin is dark golden brown. (If the pan dries out and vegetables start to stick, add a splash more chicken stock.) Squeeze the lemon juice over everything right before serving garnished with more fresh thyme as desired.
Got cooking questions? Email pasanen@sevendaysvt.com.