Chicken Thigh Packages with Bacon, Sage, and Lemon
Time requirement: 15 minutes to prep. 40-45 minutes to cook.
What you will need:
2 boneless skin-on chicken thighs.
½ cup dried mushrooms. (See note below.)
Some water nearly boiling.
1 slice of bacon.
18 small sage leaves, or 9 large ones torn in half
1 large onion, about 8 ounces, peeled and cut into 8-10 sections. Then the layers from each section separated.
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled.
1 lemon, peeled, and cut into 6-8 slices.
1 small apple cored and chopped.
3 T olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh pepper.
Butcher’s (cotton) twine
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place ½ cup dried mushrooms in a one cup measuring cup. Pour hot water over the mushrooms. Soak the mushrooms for 15 minutes then remove them to a plate. Set the plate in the refrigerator to cool the mushrooms quickly.
While the mushrooms soak, fry one slice of bacon. When the bacon is cooked, set the bacon on a plate. Set the plate in the refrigerator to cool the bacon quickly.
While the mushrooms and bacon cool, prepare the chicken….
Use a sharp knife to butterfly the thicker end of each the thigh. Give each thigh a light grinding of fresh pepper. Layer 6 small sage leaves (or three large sage leave torn in half) on each thigh. When cool, chop up the bacon and sprinkle over the chicken. Also chop up three-quarters of the mushrooms (set the rest aside) and sprinkle these atop the chicken. Roll up the thighs and place them skin side up on a cutting board. Use some butcher’s (cotton) twine to tie up the thighs into tidy little packages.
Line a small shallow oven roasting pan (a small oval, round or square Pyrex® roasting or pie pan would be good) with parchment paper.
Spread the top of the parchment paper with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
If you have not already done so, prepare the onion, lemon, and apple. Add these to the roasting pan. Place the remaining mushrooms and whole garlic cloves in the roasting pan. Sprinkle the whole with a few pinches of kosher salt and a few grinds from a pepper mill. Mix the contents of the roasting pan with the olive oil in the pan. Then place the chicken packages atop all the other ingredients in the pan and baste everything with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Make sure to coat the chicken skin with the oil to help the chicken brown while it cooks.
Place the pan in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken’s internal temperature is 180 degrees F.
Serve on hot plates with the juices and onions and fruits spooned around the chicken.
A note about dried mushrooms. I use a mix of wild mushrooms from Atlantic Spice Company in Truro Massachusetts, “Wild Forest.” Also, William Sonoma offers dried wild mushroom blend. I tend to pick out small pieces for this recipe. There is no need to use large pieces, you are only going to chop them into smaller pieces. At times I have made this recipe with just a single variety of mushroom such as black trumpet, shitake, or oyster mushrooms. I use dried mushrooms in the first place because they are a staple in my pantry. I do not have to run to the store for fresh mushrooms. All in all, dried wild mushrooms save time and offer a variety that the average supermarket can’t provide.