Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach

When I embarked on this recipe, I knew we would have roasted chicken thighs for dinner, but I wasn’t sure of anything else. The results ended up closely approximating an amazing dish we had in Croatia (click here for story). It may not have been cooked in an open-air kitchen over a wood fire, but the key turned out to be the technique plus bacon. In Croatia, everything was cooked together in one big pan, and the same holds true here. The chicken and the bacon release lots of great tasting fat that flavors the sweet potatoes and spinach, but doesn’t feel gluttonously rich. This is good, simple, earthy food.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 4 chicken quarters)

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. dried thyme

1/2 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper

2 tsp. paprika

4 oz. bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 orange-fleshed sweet potato (yam), peeled and diced

1 bag/container of baby spinach

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix spices together (salt through paprika) and sprinkle all over chicken on both sides. Set aside.

2) Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet. When fat begins to render, add onion and garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sweet potato and cook until beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes more. Remove bacon mixture from pan onto a plate.

3) Add chicken to pan skin side down. Cook until well-browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken over and return the bacon mixture to the pan, tucking around thighs. Place skillet in oven, set timer for 25 minutes. 

4) When chicken is done, place pan on stovetop at medium-high heat. Remove chicken from skillet onto a plate. Add spinach to pan and stir until beginning to wilt (be sure not to overdo), about 1 minute. Add pecans, stir, and remove from heat. Adjust seasoning of sweet potato mixture with S&P to taste, if necessary. Serve chicken with a side of sweet potato/spinach mixture.

Serves 4.

NOTES: Toddler approved.


10 Responses to “Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach”

  1. She’s so cute! How old is she? Oh, and the recipe looks good too…but pretty babies always trumps food, unless you are really really hungry. :-)

  2. This was fantastic, thank you so much! BACON NOM NOM NOM XD

  3. All food should be “Toddler Approved”

  4. I made this recipie tonight, but I stopped once I removed the chicken from the oven. I am not a fan of spinich and I ate my kale a couple days ago:-) I had a salad afterward and a Tropical Macaroon from a recipe I found on EverydayPaleo. Great easter dinner.

  5. I found this recipe nearly a year ago, after googling “chicken thighs + paleo.” I have never liked sweet potatoes, but this is the recipe that converted me. I absolutely LOVE this dish, and so does everyone I have ever served it to. Thank you!!

  6. Mark in Worcester Reply 01/05/2013 at 11:58 am

    I’ve made this recipe three times so far. I really enjoy the flavors, but 2 tbsp of salt is just too much. It’s way too salty. I’ve cut the salt in half each additional time I’ve made it, and it’s still too salty. I’m using uncured bacon, so the extra salt isn’t coming from that. I think I may leave the salt out all together next time. Great recipe though.

    • Good to know, especially since I should admit up front that I am an unabashed salt lover. My family members joke about getting me a cow’s salt lick for a present. That being said, I do find that one of the biggest errors home cooks make is under salting. But I’m glad you’ve been experimenting with what works for you!

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