Garlic, basil and paprika chicken thighs


This is THE BEST shove-it-in-the-oven-then-ooh-and-ah at the deliciousness chicken dish I can think off. So easy, but so utterly scrumptious – and so autumnal/wintery!


I made it last night for my sister and our two oldest friends in the world, also sisters. We scoffed the lot greedily, laughing and shouting over each other in a cacophony of screeches and raucous laughter and when my husband came home from watching the Arsenal (4-0!) he had to retreat upstairs to escape the din.


I allow a thigh and a drumstick per person. And although I’m a big believer in over-catering, to create leftovers, leftovers of this particular dish don’t tend to get eaten, I’ve discovered. Unless, that is, you immediately strip the chicken off the bone and put into a Tupperware to add into a soup or make sandwiches with, which is worth doing actually.




Chicken legs and thighs



Paprika, salt, pepper,

White wine



  1. Put as many thighs and legs as you want into a dish. Skin is essential as the decadent, salty, paprika-d crispiness is one of the highlights of this. Cut a lemon into quarters lengthways and wedge between the chicken bits – although ideally they won’t be too wedged as you want space around each bit so it can go crispy. Add in a few large garlic cloves skin on, which you first gently squash with the back of a knife.
  2. Drizzle olive oil onto the chicken fairly liberally. Salt (lots – Maldon is the best, I think) then pepper and sprinkle paprika on the skin. Shove in at 200 degrees for fifteen minutes then turn it down to 170 or 180 for another 45 minutes or so, depending on the size of the thighs.
  3. About ten minutes before the end, pour in a glass or two of white wine, being careful not to go near the skin (or you’ll make it soggy). When you take it out of the oven, take a handful of basil leaves, put them into a ramekin or cup and use some scissors to cut up roughly, then sprinkle on top, which makes it all look and taste quite lovely. The wine and olive oil and chicken juices merge to create a scrumptious jus, which ideally would be sopped up by mashed potato, but since I can’t have mashed potato, I served this with mashed haricot beans instead.


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