Spruce Tip Chicken thighs

Spruce tips are one of my favourite wild seasonal flavouring ingredients. There is a brightness of flavour that can’t be found anywhere else. The flavour is reminiscent of rosemary, but a little more astringent and brighter. To make this dish you will need for each person:
1-2 chicken thighs
1/2 onion
1 potato
1-2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
12 spruce tips

1. Pre-heat the over to 375F.
2. Begin by placing the chicken thighs skin side down in an oven-safe skillet. My preference is a cast iron skillet, but as long as its something you can place in the oven (so no plastic or rubber on the pan), you are good to go.
3. Turn the heat on medium, and allow to slowly render. The goal here is not to cook the chicken but to develop a little colour and to slowly melt some of the fat.
4. While your chicken is rendering, you can peel and chop your veggies. The shape doesn’t matter; what’s important is that you go for a consistent size so that everything takes about the same time to cook. And don’t go too large, or your chicken will end up over-cooked before your veggies are fully cooked.
5. Once you have a nice golden brown colour on the skin, flip the chicken thighs over, and brown the other side.
6. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan, and set to the side. There should be some oil left in the bottom of the pan.
7. Add your onion and allow to cook for a few minutes until starting to soften and turn translucent.
8. Add your potatoes and allow to brown for a few moments.
9. Add the garlic, keeping everything moving so that the garlic does not burn.
10. Add the carrots to the pan and season all the veggies with salt and pepper.
11. Sprinkle spruce tips on top of the veggies. I like to rub them between my fingers so that the needles separate and give more coverage.
12. Place the chicken thighs on top of the veggies, and again season with salt, pepper, and spruce tips. Make sure to reserve one or two spruce tips for the plating.
13. Place in pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until veggies are cooked, and chicken thighs have reached an internal temperature of at least 175F.
14. Plate up and top with another sprinkling of the spruce tip needles.

I hope you enjoy!!

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