Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Crispy Cauliflower, Tahini Sauce, and Za'atar
We know chicken breasts are a quick, easy favorite, but we can't get enough of juicy, flavorful chicken thighs. Here, they're pan-seared to lock in moisture, then roasted atop aromatic sautéed onions. Middle Eastern–inspired cauliflower, caramelized with butter, za'atar, and lemon completes this fantastic dish, which is drizzled with decadent, creamy tahini sauce.
- 1 1/4 pounds cauliflower florets
- 1/8 ounce parsley
- 1 lemon
- 2 yellow onions
- 1/2 ounce honey
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons za'atar spice mix
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
Preheat oven to 450ºF (see Recipe Tip). Rinse all produce. Cut cauliflower to .5-inch florets, if needed, and place on a baking sheet. Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. In a small bowl, stir together honey, capers, and 1 teaspoon olive oil to combine, and set aside.
Heat butter, za’atar, and .75 teaspoon salt in a large ovenproof pan over medium heat. When butter is foamy, remove pan from heat and add juice of 1 lemon. Pour za'atar-lemon butter over cauliflower on baking sheet, reserving pan for the next step. Toss cauliflower to coat, then arrange in a single layer. Set aside until Step 5.
Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan from butter over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down (see Recipe Tip). Sear until skin begins to brown, 5-6 minutes. Flip and brown on opposite side, about 1 minute more. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Discard almost all excess fat in pan from chicken, leaving behind a thin layer. Place pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan (they're full of flavor!), until onions are coated, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and add 2 tablespoons water. Return chicken to pan on top of onions, skin-side up. Transfer to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 18 minutes.
Transfer cauliflower to oven (with chicken) and roast until golden, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, place tahini in a medium bowl and season with .25 teaspoon salt and pepper. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, whisk in up to .5 cup warm water until sauce is smooth and pourable. Set aside. After 12 minutes of cauliflower roasting, sprinkle over honeyed capers and continue roasting until capers are crisp, 3 minutes more.
Once roasted, transfer chicken to a plate, leaving onions behind in pan, off heat. Stir in spinach to wilt, about 1 minute. Divide spinach and onions among serving plates, top with chicken, and serve with crispy cauliflower. Drizzle over tahini sauce, garnish with parsley, and dig in!
All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.