I make this roast chicken recipe all the time, but never really thought about posting it because I don’t really think of it as much of a recipe. It’s one of the things I just throw together when I have some chicken thawed. Then I went to BlogHer 11 and met a young woman looking for a way to change her life. Somehow the topic of cooking chicken came up and I told her about these herb chicken thighs.
Blog Her 11 was a great experience mainly because of the friendsI got to spend time with and the new friends I got to make. (Pictured below clockwise from the top are Rene, Penny, Diane and Jaden.) I was there as a speaker on the topic of Our Food Future and it was an awesome panel.
Yet after 3 days of sessions, parties and amazingly awesome dinners (Roy’s and Nobu in one weekend? Be still my heart! ) it’s the taxi ride to the San Diego airport that sticks out the most in my mind.
My driver was a young African woman, probably 21 or so. I knew immediately she had not been in America long, and my long held desire to live in Africa was immediately brought to the surface so I began to ask her all about her life.
She won the immigration lottery in school in Ethiopia, which meant that she could come work in the US. She works 12 hour shifts as a taxi driver and 8 hour shifts as a gas station clerk. Yes, do the math, she often sleeps just 4 hours a night. Fortunately she was alert and totally safe driving, I sure wouldn’t be!
She works so hard to send money back to Ethiopia for her family. She doesn’t have time for friends, she eats occasionally at the many Ethiopian restaurants in the area, but mostly she’s lonely. She doesn’t cook because American ingredients are confusing to her and she’s tired a lot. But, she does have a little herb garden at her apartment building that she could use if she knew how.
I told her about this herb chicken, just picking various herbs, smelling them to decide what you’re in the mood for. The prep time is only 5 minutes and then it just cooks in the oven. You can make it different every night by using different herbs so you don’t feel like you’re always eating the same thing. Pair it with a salad, some steamed broccoli or carrots, keep it simple so you don’t get overwhelmed. (I sometimes use a food processor to make the herb paste and sometimes chop everything by hand, which actually seems faster because there’s less dishes to wash!)
My driver began to get excited, thinking about different combinations she could try. Said that would be her 2am dinner that night.
I asked to take her picture, but she said she didn’t like cameras and just having her required license photos taken caused her days of anxiety. But her subtle profile view from the backseat is forever etched on my memory. A beautiful ebony woman with long black hair, chiseled cheekbones and coal black eyes. A woman giving every last ounce of energy and time to support the people she loves and desperately wishes she could be close to. A woman feeling so alone and unnoticed in the world that something as small as a generous tip brings her to tears of gratitude.
Everyone has a story. Whether it’s the maid at the hotel I stay in, the server at the local taco bar, or the taxi driver to the airport, I love to step outside my own little world and into theirs. There’s something so beautiful about learning someone’s story and seeing them for who they really are. Whose story can you learn today?
Herb Chicken Thigh RecipePrep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 35-45 minutes Total time: 40-50 minutes Yield: 3-6 servings
- 1/4 cup
finely chopped herbs
- 1/4 cup
- 1 tsp
bone in skin on chicken thighs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix together your herbs (I love the combination of thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary and sage) with the olive oil and salt to make a paste.
- Pack some of the herb paste under the skin of the chicken thighs and rub the rest on the outside of the chicken thighs.
- Place in a baking dish and bake skin side up 35-45 minutes until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Approximate cost/serving: If you grow your own herbs this is REALLY cheap. At Sam’s Club I can usually get a big pack of chicken thighs for just 30-40 cents each. This ends up costing me just under $3 so 50 cents – $1 per serving.
Gluten Free: No adjustments necessary.