September weather is unpredictable. The first fall chill can arrive a week after Labor Day, or it can be Indian summer until early October. One thing that’s always constant: September feels hectic after the lazy days of August. This one-pan chicken is easy for weeknight dinners (you can prep the ingredients ahead of time and line the pan with foil for easy cleanup), but isn’t too heavy for days when summer still lingers in the air. Serves 4
For the Chicken and Vegetables:
2 medium heads of fennel, sliced into half-inch rounds
24 oz baby potatoes, halved
1 head garlic, peeled (one clove reserved for sauce)
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 lemon, cut lengthwise into eighths
10 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and skin
2¾ tsp kosher salt
1. Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat it to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, garlic, olives, lemon, thyme, olive oil, and mustard. Season with one teaspoon salt. Spread vegetables onto the hot sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes.
2. With paper towels, thoroughly pat the chicken dry, then season both sides with remaining salt. Stir vegetables and nestle chicken on top. Roast for an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through (juices should run clear).
For the Sauce:
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
6 Tbsp chopped parsley
1½ tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, to temper the garlic. Serve alongside or atop chicken.
The best part of any roast chicken is super-crispy skin. To get it, pat chicken pieces very dry on both sides, then season with salt (no oil needed!). The science behind it: The skin can’t crisp until surface moisture evaporates. Patting the chicken dry speeds up the process and leaves more time for the skin to get crisp and golden.