Kitchn Love Letters

The 2-Ingredient Chicken Dinner I Make Every Single Week

published Feb 21, 2024
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Spicy chicken thighs in skillet.
Credit: Photo: Murray Hall; Food Stylist: Jessie Yuchen

We’ve (already) reached the point of a new year when I’ve peaked in my newly resolved efforts to be a better human. Wow were the first seven weeks productive: I did weekend baking (highly recommend this Ding Dong cake)! I sent a couple friends handwritten birthday cards! I was early for meetings! But like clockwork, as January days creep into February ones and the winter blahs begin to set in, being so on top of it all can start to feel tough. Weekend baking? Don’t know her right now.

But I still force myself to cook dinner (I refuse to settle for takeout more than two nights a week), so I turn to this trusty recipe that I know will never let me down — one that’s there for me when I need something ridiculously easy and requires minimal effort, that lets me have a home-cooked meal and requires the same amount of brain power as nuking a Trader Joe’s frozen chicken.

It’s a brilliant two-ingredient (yes, two!) chicken recipe that’s so delicious I make it every week.

What Makes This Chicken Recipe So Good

Okay, I’ll be frank: You gotta be able to handle the heat to really like this dish. What makes it so smart is the use of cherry peppers. TBH, I wasn’t super familiar with this style of pepper until I started making this recipe. You don’t normally see them fresh in the grocery store — during the summer, farmers markets will typically have them for about a month beginning in late July. They’re much more widely available pickled and jarred in the aisle where you’ll probably find pasta sauce and capers.

You can find them in varying levels of heat. I’m someone who typically wants some chili crunch on avocado toast and hot sauce on a burrito bowl, but not the type who wants their mouth on fire during a meal. So I reach for medium cherry peppers for this recipe.

Credit: Photo: Murray Hall; Food Stylist: Jessie Yuchen

Why This Recipe Really Works

This dinner is extremely clever for two reasons: how you cook the chicken thighs themselves and how you use the cherry peppers. For the chicken, you place the skillet over low heat, add the chicken skin-side down (no oil or nothin’!) and let them cook undisturbed for about 45 minutes until the fat renders and the chicken skin takes on an impossibly crispy texture. (This might seem a little long, but there’s no monitoring necessary.) You can literally walk away and watch an episode of Seinfeld and then meander back to the stove to check on it (which I’ve done).

Once the chicken skin is crispy, you flip the chicken and add the peppers. Use just a couple of peppers, torn into pieces, along with two tablespoons of the juice from the jar. This creates your pan sauce along with the chicken juices.

If you’re making this for the first time, temper the heat by starting with one pepper, then adding the second if your palate can handle more. What you’ll end up with is so good and full of depth, you’ll definitely want some bread to soak up every last bit. 

Get the recipe: 2-Ingredient Spicy Chicken Thighs