Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 bulbs fennel
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 navel orange, scrubbed clean and sliced into quarter-inch rounds
2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or finely minced
2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 whole sprigs
Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
In a large bowl, combine the garlic, thyme leaves, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Remove any excess moisture from the chicken by patting it dry with paper towel and add the chicken thighs. Toss to coat evenly, using your hands to massage the garlic-thyme mixture into the chicken. Set aside to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes. while you prep the vegetables. You can also do this step a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate to infuse with more flavor.
Trim the stalks to just get the bulb; remove the outermost layers . Cut each bulb into 8 wedges. Toss the fennel wedges with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Evenly layer the fennel wedges in a large cast iron skillet or baking dish. Top with the orange slices.
Place the chicken on top of the fennel and orange slices. Scatter the thyme sprigs around, if using. Place in the oven and bake until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced and the chicken is at least 165 degrees F in the thickest part, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve the fennel, on or two orange slices, and chicken over rice and spoon any pan juices over top. .