Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Cherry Tomatoes


Tender tomatoes add bites of sweetness throughout this simple but deeply flavorful pan-roasted chicken dinner. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are browned on the stovetop and then transferred to the oven, where they bake with lemon slices, garlic, and cherry tomatoes. Served with crusty bread for sopping up the lemony pan juices and fresh, garlicky Swiss chard pesto, the roast chicken thighs are especially good with this wine pairing from Micah Clark, of The Charter Oak in St. Helena, California. "Oaky Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite late summer bottles," he says. "One with a lot of Sémillon works with the rich chicken and the bright lemon in this dish."

Lemony Chicken Thighs with Burst Tomatoes and Swiss chard Pesto
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 8 (7-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess skin and fat trimmed

  • 2 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 large lemon

  • 7 medium garlic cloves, divided

  • 2 large (2-ounce) shallots, chopped into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup water

  • 10 (6-inch) thyme sprigs

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped stemmed green Swiss chard

  • 2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seed kernels

  • ½ ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tablespoons)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle chicken all over with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a deep 14-inch ovenproof skillet over high; swirl to coat. Place chicken, skin side down, in hot oil. Cook, undisturbed, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer browned chicken, skin side up, to a large plate. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-high. Do not wipe skillet clean.

  2. While chicken browns, cut lemon in half crosswise. Cut 1 lemon half into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Squeeze remaining lemon half to equal 1 tablespoon juice; set juice aside, and discard squeezed lemon half. Smash 6 garlic cloves. Add lemon slices, garlic, and shallots to drippings in skillet; cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, flipping garlic halfway through cook time. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and thyme to skillet, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen browned bits. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in mixture.

  3. Transfer skillet to preheated oven, and roast until shallots are tender and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken thighs registers at least 165°F, 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, grate remaining garlic clove to equal 1/4 teaspoon; discard remaining garlic. Pulse chard, sunflower seed kernels, Parmesan cheese, reserved lemon juice, grated garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until very finely chopped, about 8 pulses. With processor running, gradually pour remaining 6 tablespoons oil through food chute until pesto is mostly smooth, about 40 seconds. Set aside.

  5. Divide chicken and tomato-shallot mixture among 4 shallow bowls; drizzle with pan juices. Serve with pesto.

Make Ahead

Pesto can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Suggested Pairing

Lightly oaky Sauvignon Blanc–Sémillon: Arietta On the White Keys Sauvignon Blanc–Sémillon

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