Sheet-Pan Roasted Chicken With Pears and Arugula
In this hearty sheet-pan meal, thick pear wedges and chicken thighs seasoned with earthy, warming spices are roasted until soft and tender. During the last five minutes, crunchy sunflower seeds are scattered on the pan to sizzle in the pan juices, gaining a salty flavor that balances out the sweetness of the pears. A final topping of arugula soaks up any lingering juices and turns this into a full-on meal. Using firm, not-quite-ripe pears prevents them from becoming mushy and falling apart during the cooking process. Swap baby spinach for the arugula and sherry vinegar for the lemon juice, depending on what you have on hand. Serve any leftovers on a bed of fresh arugula, dressed with lemon and olive oil.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 6skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1teaspoon cumin
- 1teaspoon coriander
- 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger from a 2-inch piece
- 3tablespoons olive oil
- 2firm, semi-ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, cored and quartered lengthwise
- 2tablespoons raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2packed cups baby arugula
- 1lemon, halved
- ¼cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped (optional)
Step 1Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the center.
Step 2Pat the chicken dry and trim excess fat and skin. Sprinkle all over with 2 teaspoons salt, and season with pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the red-pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, ginger and oil. On a sheet pan, rub the chicken and pears all over with the mixture. Arrange chicken skin-side up and pears skin-side down. Cook until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees at the thickest part) and the pears are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, add the sunflower seeds to the pan. If there’s a lot of fat when finished cooking, tilt the pan and spoon it off until there’s a light coating on the surface of the pan.
Step 3Scatter the arugula on top, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with herbs, if using. Cut the remaining lemon half in quarters and serve.