Sheet-Pan Chicken With Potatoes, Olives & Herbs

February 17, 2020
Author Notes

Don’t get me wrong: I love cooking chicken thighs on the stovetop—a “bottom-up cooking” method I learned from our Genius Recipes column years ago. But sometimes—especially during colder months—I’d rather kick back and let the oven lead the way. This approach means less splattering and, in turn, less cleanup. Not to mention you can cook the rest of dinner in the oven at the same time. Here, we’ll call in two rimmed sheet pans, to turn out a Sunday-worthy supper that’s equal parts hearty (meat! potatoes!) and bright (herbs! lemon!). The trick is to throw one of the sheet pans in the oven as soon as you turn it on; as the temperature rises, it will become super-duper hot, so the chicken sizzles and starts to render fat right away. On the other sheet pan, we’ve got parboiled potatoes (parboiling in salty water seasons them throughout and makes sure they’re buttery-tender), briny olives, and fresh thyme. While herbs are often an afterthought or garnish for dishes, in this case, they’re one of the main components—so, no, the 3 cups of parsley and dill isn’t a typo! Embrace it. Once you add the herbs to the sheet pan with the crispy chicken, they become dressed in the schmaltz and lemon juice, like an ultra-flavorful lettuce dressed in an ultra-simple vinaigrette. If you can’t find Castelvetrano olives, you can use more kalamata instead—just be mindful of the salt in the rest of the dish since the kalamatas are much brinier; oil-cured olives would also be great here. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for the chicken
  • 2 pounds (about 4 large) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds golfball-size potatoes, yellow or a mix of colors, halved
  • 1/3 cup torn (or roughly chopped) kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup torn (or roughly chopped) Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon chile flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, for squeezing on top, plus wedges for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Set a large pot of water (figure about 4 quarts) on the stove over high heat to come to a boil, add the ¼ cup kosher salt, and cover with a lid. Heat the oven to 450°F and immediately add a sheet pan to warm up. Pat the chicken thighs completely dry, then sprinkle very generously with salt.
  2. When the water reaches a boil, add the potatoes and cook until they’re just pierce-able with a knife, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and pat dry, then add to another rimmed sheet pan, along with the kalamata olives and thyme leaves. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and toss, making sure all the potatoes are cut side-down.
  3. Carefully remove the hot sheet pan from the oven, add the chicken thighs skin side-down, and swiftly get back in the oven (on a rack toward the bottom of the oven), along with the other sheet pan above on another shelf. Roast both for 30 minutes until the chicken thighs are crisp-skinned and cooked through (165°F at a minimum, but you can take this further to get the skin where you want it). If you want extra-crispy skin, you can use a spatula to flip the chicken thighs over and broil them for a couple minutes (just make sure you remove the potatoes from the oven before doing so).
  4. When both sheet pans are out of the oven, distribute the potatoes around the chicken, then top with the Castelvetrano olives, parsley, dill, and chile flakes, and stir here and there to combine the potatoes and herbs. Squeeze lemon on top and serve with more lemon wedges for everyone to squeeze on as they eat.

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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.