Wednesday, March 30

Stuffed Chicken Thighs, Penne Pasta & Red Bell Pepper-Tomato Sauce

There were only three thighs (oh, dear, try saying that fast, five times!) and it took some thinking but I was able to make a meal that would feed four. Well, two people having seconds, anyway. First of all, these were heavier chicken thighs than normal and weighed in at just under 3/4s of a pound, bone in. Adding penne pasta and my roasted red bell pepper-tomato-onion-okra combination from last year's garden helped complete what turned out to be a seriously delicious meal. "Oh, my's," were uttered from first to last bite. Love that sound. If you want to add chicken legs, as well, do so but only use the thighs for stuffing.  So good I've shared with the folks at Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday.
This takes a little more effort than most recipes, but it's well worth it. Both the sauce and the stuffing can be made the day before and will keep in the refrigerator, a day or two, until you're ready to use it. On the day of actually preparing the dish, make the penne pasta about 30 minutes before chicken thighs are finished baking in solar oven.

Red Bell Pepper-Tomato-Onion-Okra Sauce
If you don't have this combination already, use 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, 1 medium chopped onion, 1 medium red bell pepper chopped and 1/2 cup sliced okra discs (optional). Saute in deep saucepan: 1 Tablespoon olive oil until onions are opaque. Add: 1 whole clove garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 cup cold water; bring to boil. Lower heat to  medium and simmer until bell peppers are tender. Add 1 tsp oregano leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Puree in blender, pour into ovenproof casserole dish, cover, and bake in solar oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup for mixing with pasta.

Olive-Mushroom Stuffing
In food processor, combine 2 cloves garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, 1/2 cup black pitted olives, 1/2 cup mushrooms, 1 scant Tablespoon olive oil. Pulse to a finely chopped mixture; add salt and pepper to taste; pulse again. (This will keep in refrigerator 2-3 days.) 

Stuffed Chicken Thighs
Debone thighs and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Put 1-1/2 teaspoons of stuffing in thigh; roll up and tie with kitchen string or rubber bands. (I like rubber bands. Easier for me to use and can be loose or tight.) 

Brown in 2 Tablespoons olive oil or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).

Set browned thighs aside. Glaze pan with 1/4 cup water/white wine, scraping all browned bits off pan. Add  all but one-half cup of sauce to pan and blend; pour mixture into bottom of baking pan, place browned thighs over sauce. Cover and bake in preheated solar oven for approximately 50 minutes or until inserted thermometer reads 160F. Remove from oven and let chicken thighs rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cook penne pasta while chicken thighs are resting.

Drain pasta; toss with 1/2 cup of reserved sauce.  Remove thighs from sauce; snip strings/rubber bands; slice evenly into pinwheels.  To serve, place pasta on plate, add 1/2 cup of sauce over top and add 3-4 pinwheels, sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley.

What would you use to stuff the chicken thighs?


  1. I'd have to exclude the okra (and probably cut back on the onion, perhaps throwing in some garlic instead), but this still looks darned tasty. Will have to try it out soon...

  2. Whoa- I'd use exactly what you used--sounds heavenly!

  3. That looks really good, except I'm not sure if I'm up for de-boning a thigh. Maybe I will skip the stuffing step. The sauce looks really good. I can almost smell it. :)

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