Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Thyme Compote

In this recipe, the fresh sweet cherries are lightly cooked to make a chunky compote flavored with herbal thyme and enriched with the chicken's pan juices. Balsamic vinegar adds intense flavor and a touch of acidity. I love the sweet-pepper flavor of the pink peppercorns and it was a lovely combination paired the cherries! 

Pink peppercorns are actually not part of the pepper family.  Though the same size, they bear a sweet, gentle flavor that is only slightly peppery.  They are a beautiful rosy color and add dimension and visual interest to more mild flavored dishes.  I noted when cracking them their outer reddish pink color is actually a papery covering yielding a darker inner peppercorn. 

 

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Thyme Compote

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 3 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 3 1/4 lb. total
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh Bing cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large flameproof roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tsp. of the thyme, the 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Brush the chicken thighs with the 2 Tbs. olive oil and season with the thyme mixture and crushed pink peppercorns. 
  3. Arrange the thighs, skin side up, in the prepared roasting pan.
  4. Roast the chicken until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat, away from the bone, registers 170°F, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. 
  5. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Set the pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the shallot is softened, about 1 minute. Add the cherries and cook, stirring often, until they are warm and begin to give off their juices, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and the remaining 1 tsp. thyme and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer the compote to a serving bowl.
  6. Serve the chicken immediately and pass the compote at the table. Serves 4. 

I served the chicken and cherry compote with herb roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed greens.
The cherries, and potatoes were from my weekly CSA share from Petersen Family Farm.  And the sautéed greens were from my amazing farmer friends at BUG Farms.

Delicious! 

How are you using your local summer market vegetables?  Share your yummy recipe ideas in the comments below!