My quest to use up Christmas dinner leftovers continues with the cranberries from the Spiced Cranberry Bourbon Old Fashioned with Sugared Cranberries recipe. That recipe calls for a whole bag of sugared cranberries, but the sugar rinses right off if you don’t use them. I did that and used a few to garnish my Christmas duck but still had plenty left over. I could have frozen them, but I did some searching and found this quick and easy One Pan Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Cranberry Sauce. That not only used up a lot of the cranberries but my leftover rosemary too (also from the duck). Perfect!
This festive one skillet dish comes together quickly with the perfect combination of ingredients.
My pre-shopping kitchen check found a lot of the ingredients for this One Pan Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Cranberry Sauce recipe. As I mentioned above, I had the cranberries and rosemary in the refrigerator along with a bottle of cranberry juice and butter.
My pantry held red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, fine sea salt, coarse (kosher) salt, black pepper, olive oil, and garlic. That’s everything except the chicken thighs. I love it when that happens!
I actually searched my freezer for chicken thighs, but I must have used them (they are my favorite cut of chicken). So it was off to the store to buy the one ingredient on my list, but my regular grocery store’s selection of chicken thighs is dodgy. I’m not sure if they sell out fast or if they don’t stock them much because people prefer chicken breasts. Maybe a combo of both?
At any rate, I was lucky to find them, and they only had boneless and skinless chicken thighs. That was good and bad. Good because I wouldn’t have to debone them (they either have them with both or without either). But bad because the recipe’s blog post talks about how good the browned skins are. I love chicken skin when it is browned and really crispy, but I hate it if it falls short of that even a little. Oh well. I can’t be that disappointed since the skins are the least healthy part.
This One Pan Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Cranberry Sauce recipe broke down the steps nicely, but I did change the order. I started the prep work first (of course) and put my 12-inch cast iron pan on to preheat when I was almost done. This recipe has it right at preheating for 4-5 minutes and adding the oil just before you begin cooking.
Next, I put the chicken thighs into the hot pan to sear. Adding the cool chicken to hot oil meant tons of spatter, so my spatter screen was mandatory. My stove and nearby counter would have been an oily mess without it plus it was a safety issue.
Tip: Cold chicken doesn’t cook evenly. To avoid a cold, underdone center set the chicken on the counter 15-30 minutes before cooking so it can come up to room temperature.
I cooked my chicken thighs for a total of 15 minutes and removed them to a paper towel-lined pan to drain any excess oil. Then I cooked the garlic and rosemary followed by adding the cranberry sauce ingredients, deglazing, and simmering for 5 minutes. All that was left was to add the chicken to the pan, spoon the sauce over it, and melt the butter. A few extra sprigs of rosemary were the perfect garnish and added some color.
Tip: Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to cook acidic foods in a non-enameled cast iron pan for short periods if the pan is well-seasoned. If you need to cook acidic foods for a long time choose an enameled cast iron pan.
This recipe lists 5 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to cook, and a total time of 30 minutes. My times differed a little, but the end result was pretty much the same. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 8 minutes to prep
- 20 minutes to cook
- 28 minutes total
I have a feeling I could shave a few minutes off that time by changing the order of the steps to:
- Preheat the pan
- Season the chicken and begin the other prep work
- Add the chicken to the pan and finish the other prep work as it cooks
- Continue with steps 5-7
I’ll be sure to let you know next time I make this recipe.