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Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs ready to serve

Chicken thighs are one of my favorite proteins for a number of reasons. A simple salt and pepper seasoning and a kiss of flame on the grill and these are ready to go if you’re looking for something quick and easy. They also do well with more complex recipes and take on flavors very well. Chicken thighs don’t tend to dry out like boneless skinless chicken breasts do so they are also more forgiving.

This garlic parmesan and bacon chicken thigh recipe is packed with flavor, and of course, some white wine. They say everything goes better with bacon and I don’t disagree. I also think everything is better with wine so any chance I get to pair bacon and wine, I’m all over it.

In this recipe, I am using boneless skinless thighs, but you can absolutely use bone-in chicken thighs if that’s what you have on hand. I love the crunch from the skin when it’s cooked perfectly, but the bone-in thigh isn’t as easy to eat so there’s a tradeoff.

If you’ve read my book, Grill Seeker Basic Training for Everyday Grilling, the seasoning I use on this chicken might sound familiar. I talk about this rub in the book and it’s really my go-to for poultry. With slight variations, this rub is very versatile. Adding in dried sage, for example, will give this basic chicken rub a whole new flavor profile.

Like it a little spicier? Try doubling the amount of cayenne. I like things on the spicy side, but this rub was developed for the masses, and not the heat seekers like me. I’ve said a number of times, I don’t like heat for the sake of heat. I like heat that brings flavor and the right amount of heat is very subjective.

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What Temperature Do I Cook Chicken Thighs To?

The USDA recommends chicken thighs to be cooked to 165°F internal temperature. Chicken isn’t something you can safely eat rare like a Prime Rib so be sure you’re using a reliable instant-read thermometer when cooking these garlic parmesan and bacon chicken thighs. When cooking to temperature, always remember that carryover cooking is going to play a part so consider that as well.

What to Serve With Chicken Thighs?

I love these chicken thighs served over a bed of quinoa. That said, I find chicken thighs also go well with Brussel sprouts, cooked carrots, and especially with garlic mashed potatoes. To be fair, everything goes with the garlic mashed potatoes. If you haven’t tried them yet, you really should!

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs Recipe

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking Time: 20 min

Ingredients
3 slices bacon
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the Rub:
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic powder (not salt)
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Parmesan Garlic Sauce:
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 stick butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup white wine (a cheap chardonnay is perfect)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped parsley, divided in half

How to Make Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs

Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the rub, set aside. This makes more rub than you’ll need for this chicken, but it’s great to save and use on other things.

Rub for Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs

Step 2: Rinse and pat the chicken thighs dry, then lightly coat with olive oil. I find this olive oil spray bottle perfect for this, but you can also rub it on by hand.

Step 3: Sprinkle chicken thighs with rub on both sides and leave on the counter while you preheat your cast-iron skillet.

Chicken thighs seasoned and ready to cook

Step 4: Heat seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add three slices of bacon and cook on each side till bacon is crisp and fat has rendered. Remove from skillet, set aside while leaving rendered fat in the pan. Once the bacon has cooled slightly, give it a rough chop.

Bacon simmering in cast-iron skillet

Step 5: Place chicken thighs in a skillet with hot rendered bacon fat. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 160°F as indicated by a reliable instant-read thermometer. Cook about 8 minutes, flipping chicken about every minute.

Cooked Chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet

Step 6: Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Step 7: Reduce heat to low and add in garlic and shallots, cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.

Step 8: Add wine to skillet and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden scraper. Cook off the alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Once the butter has melted, whisk in red pepper flakes and half of the parsley.

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs sauce

NOTE: Be sure you scrape up any and all of the chicken bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, those are little flavor bombs.

Step 9: Place chicken back into the pan and top with parmesan cheese and let cook for 5 minutes. This will bring your chicken to a safe 165°F for eating. Remove from heat.

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs cooking in sauce

Step 10: Spoon sauce over each chicken thigh, top with crumbled bacon, and garnish with remaining chopped parsley.

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs ready to serve

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs Recipe

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Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs ready to serve

Garlic Parmesan and Bacon Chicken Thighs

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the Rub:

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Parmesan Garlic Sauce:

  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley divided in half

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the rub, set aside.
  • Rinse and pat the chicken thighs dry, then lightly coat with olive oil. I find this olive oil spray bottle perfect for this, but you can also rub it on by hand.
  • Sprinkle chicken thighs with rub on both sides and leave on the counter while you preheat your cast-iron skillet.
  • Heat seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add three slices of bacon and cook on each side till bacon is crisp and fat has rendered. Remove from skillet, set aside while leaving rendered fat in the pan. Once the bacon has cooled slightly, give it a rough chop.
  • Place chicken thighs in a skillet with hot rendered bacon fat. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 160°F as indicated by a reliable instant-read thermometer. Cook about 8 minutes, flipping chicken about every minute.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in garlic and shallots, cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add wine to skillet and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden scraper. Cook off the alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Once the butter has melted, whisk in red pepper flakes and half of the parsley.
  • Place chicken back into the pan and top with parmesan cheese and let cook for 5 minutes. This will bring your chicken to a safe 165°F for eating. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon sauce over each chicken thigh, top with crumbled bacon, and garnish with remaining chopped parsley.

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