Crispy Chicken Thighs With Asparagus, Bacon & Potatoes

April 22, 2019
23 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

This is my favorite way to cook chicken thighs—and my favorite way to serve them come springtime. Crisp-tender asparagus, smash-fried potatoes, and lots of bacon. While the chicken and bacon bring richness (“thank you!” say the asparagus and potatoes), garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard keep everyone feeling bright and sprightly. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound golf ball–sized red potatoes
  • 1 pound asparagus, fibrous ends trimmed
  • 4 thick slices bacon, roughly chopped into ¾-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  1. Set a very large pot of water (about 6 quarts) over high heat to come to a boil. When it does, generously season it with salt (I estimate 1 tablespoon kosher salt per quart of water).
  2. Add the olive oil to a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) and set over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet, skin side down. Cook like this, without moving, until the fat has rendered and the skin is deeply golden brown and crispy, 15 to 30 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed, reducing to medium-low if the skin begins to burn before it gets evenly brown.
  3. When the salted water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook until knife-tender, about 10 minutes (start checking around 8 to avoid overcooking). Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the potatoes to a plate where they can cool.
  4. Let the water return to a boil, then add the asparagus. Boil for about 2 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain.
  5. When the chicken thighs are crispy and deeply golden-brown on the bottom, flip. Continue cooking until the other side is deeply golden brown and the meat closest to the bone is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more.
  6. When the potatoes are cool, use your palm, a glass, or a measuring cup to gently smush them. You want them as flat as possible, but not falling apart. When the asparagus is cool, chop the stalks into 1 ½-inch pieces.
  7. When the chicken is done, transfer the thighs to a plate, but leave the all the fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high. Immediately add the smashed potatoes to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until very crispy all over. Transfer the potatoes to a plate or platter, then discard the fat and wipe the pan.
  8. Set the pan back over medium heat. Add the bacon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until just starting to crisp. Discard a couple spoonfuls of rendered fat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and stir. Toast until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus and stir. Cook for about 1 minute, just to warm, then add the Dijon, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Nestle the chicken thighs back in the pan.
  9. Serve immediately with the smash-fried potatoes alongside.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Monica Gruber
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

31 Reviews

Mvp222 April 26, 2020
Delicious and easy. I’m into easy. If it gets complicated, I’m out,
This was delicious and a hit with my husband. I will be making this again and again.
it may be my go to when the kids are over for dinner! My husband felt like he was having a meal from one of our favorite restaurants.
susan T. February 20, 2020
Delicious! This is terrific recipe. I chose to oven roast the potatoes (instead of the boil/smush/fry method) whilst cooking the chicken as directed stovetop. That saves some time and the potatoes and chicken were done around the same time! I did a little extra dijon and will definitely be making this one again!
Greg October 28, 2019
My God the skin is so crisp and delicious. Did ten thighs in two cast iron skillets for four hungry mouths. I was expecting some leftovers to take to work instead the two teenagers were asking if there was more! Chicken, potatoes and asparagus all gone. Guess I'm making this one again!
Emma L. October 29, 2019
Yay, so glad you and your family enjoyed!
Laura May 30, 2019
This recipe is delicious but holy wow what a mess! For those of you concerned with the amount of salt in it, season to taste and save the rest to soak up all the grease off the floor in front of the stove.
Rebecca L. May 31, 2019
I had the same experience. Later I discovered I actually had a splatter screen in one of my cabinets. Oh well, next time.
Sarah L. May 29, 2019
This was really delightful! My only issue (which was 100% user error), was when I had the temp a bit too high on my cast iron whilst frying the potatoes and I smoked up the house. I'm sure the sounds of me madly flapping a broom in front of a blaring smoke detector while yelling, "I know, I'm COOKING!" was entertaining for the whole neighborhood. Watch your temps, people!
Would definitely recommend the recipe though.
pvanhagenlcsw May 5, 2019
This recipe is a treasure and so well suited for fresh California asparagus. There are some layers of tasks in prep but the outcome of fresh flavors is certainly worth it.
Heidi D. May 2, 2019
I liked the technique of cooking the chicken thighs this way for crispy skin. However, the recipe had a lot of steps and took me closer to 2 hours to complete - not ideal for a weeknight. The potatoes in particular - boiling, cooling, smashing and then frying - just seemed like a lot of steps without a commensurate return in flavor.
Greg October 28, 2019
Must admit I cheated on the potatoes. Cut them in half, nuked for eight minutes (or until tender) , and then into the skillet. Smushed some of them with the back of a wooden spoon as they browned.
Cassie B. April 30, 2019
I don't "fry" often but when I do I know what to expect - a messy stove! I'm all down with that when the outcome is worth it. Yum, Yum in my Tum. Just made and it was decadent and delicious.
Rebecca L. April 30, 2019
I made this last night. It was delicious. I guess I have to thank you. My stove top is now clean and so is the floor around my stove. I had to clean them because they were covered with grease after making the chicken. All clean now and and the chicken is all gone.
Emma L. April 30, 2019
Ha! You're welcome!
Lynne A. May 1, 2019
Try a grease splatter screen? Works like a charm. Much less cleanup.
Emma L. May 2, 2019
Love that idea, Lynne! This Frywall would work great, too:
Lynne A. April 28, 2019
My granddaughter and I made this recipe together. It was multi-step, but easy. The result was delicious. A couple of thoughts, though. This is, to me, a heavy dish and on the salty side. Calories must be through the roof. The potatoes absorbed all of the chicken fat. The thick-cut bacon produced so much fat. We removed all, but about three tablespoons, whereas the recipe instructs to remove only two tablespoons, which would have left 1/3 a cup or more of bacon fat. For us, there was just a tad too much dijon mustard. Regarding salt, we used the entire six tablespoons in the water for potatoes and asparagus. Those came out salty. Despite the overly rich and somewhat salty flavor, we would make this again with some adjustments because the flavors were delicious, chicken moisted, and asparagus well seasoned. We followed the directions precisely with the exception of using less bacon fat - used a meat thermometer to check doneness of chicken.
Bill April 29, 2019
did you by chance use regular salt instead of kosher?
Lynne A. April 29, 2019
Used kosher for seasoning, but, oh, used table salt in boiling water. Good catch. Thank you.
Monica G. April 27, 2019
How would the cooking time vary if I used bone-in breasts instead of thighs?
Emma L. April 29, 2019
Hi Monica! You can sear chicken breasts, skin side-down, on the stove until they're golden-brown, flip, transfer to a sheet pan, and finish cooking in a 375°F (or even 400°F) oven. Then you can use that skillet you seared the chicken in to fry the potatoes, though you may need to add more fat.
Monica G. May 5, 2019
Just seeing your reply now. Thanks. I actually made this last week, using chicken breasts instead of thighs, and I did it just like you wrote. It was delicious and a big hit with the family. The only thing is that it is a bit time consuming, so it may be moved for a weekend rotation. But definitely a keeper!
KDT April 26, 2019
Delicious. Next time I make this will be day BEFORE the cleaning lady comes not the same day she’s made my kitchen sparkle 🤣. It was pretty messy, grease splatters everywhere and the taste was completely worth it!
Rebecca L. April 30, 2019
Totally. My stove top and the floor around my stove all greasy.
colette April 26, 2019
This sounds delicious but please include measurement for lemon juice in recipes. A single lemon off my tree can give me up to 1/2 c and that seems like a whole lot of lemon juice. I'm going to guess and go with 2 T. Thanks for such great recipes!
Emma L. April 26, 2019
Hi Colette! Yes, 1/2 cup would be way too much here! :) 2 tablespoons is a good place to start, then just add more to taste.
Joe April 24, 2019
Many unnecessary steps, impractical preparation techniques. Literally could have been prepared quicker, with more flavor in 30 mins.
Kelly M. April 26, 2019
Joe, tell me how you would do it!
Loren April 23, 2019
The recipe calls for 6 Tbs of salt, ( over 1/4 C?) where does it all go?
Dr4eddie April 23, 2019
1 TBSP of salt per quart of water for the boiled potatoes
Emma L. April 24, 2019
Yes to what Dr4eddie said! The 6 tablespoons of kosher salt is to season the 6 quarts of water for the boiled potatoes and asparagus.
Lynne A. April 29, 2019
As Bill pointed out above, use kosher salt, not regular table salt. I used table salt in the boiling water and veggies cane out too salty.