I didn’t invent the chicken sheet-pan dinner, but I was an early adopter.
The convenience of tossing everything on a pan, then letting it do its thing unattended in the oven for half an hour or so is perennially appealing to me. While the chicken sizzles and the vegetables soften, I can open the wine, check Instagram and call my mother, sometimes all at once. And when dinner is done, I get to feel extremely accomplished for very little effort.
This iteration, made with chicken thighs, sherried mushrooms and a little tarragon, is a bit more sophisticated than many others of its ilk. Its flavors are a little like chicken Marsala, but, instead of sautéing everything in a skillet until soft, the chicken and mushrooms are roasted on a sheet pan, allowing them to crisp at the edges and brown all over.
To make this, you will need to procure some dry (fino) sherry — not the syrupy cream sherry you might have in the back of your cabinet, leftover from … who even remembers? Fino sherry is bone-dry and nutty tasting, along the lines of dry vermouth or white wine, either of which would make a good substitute. Or, to avoid the booze altogether, use a combination of orange juice and lime juice for acidity and sweetness.
Mushrooms with thinner, lacier caps are best here, turning crunchy and brittle as they roast. Oyster mushrooms, maitake, shiitakes and trumpet mushrooms are all ideal. But even denser creminis and white mushrooms can work. You’ll be swapping crispness for meatiness, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
And yes, you can use chicken breasts here instead of thighs. Watch them carefully: If they’re done before the mushrooms, transfer them to a plate, tent them with an overturned bowl or foil to keep warm, and let the vegetables keep roasting until singed at the edges.
The only tricky maneuver is adding the sherry to the sheet pan to deglaze it. Work quickly while the pan is very hot (be sure to use oven mitts). You want the sherry to heat up and steam, which helps loosen all those tasty, browned bits stuck to the bottom. A little butter whisked in at the end adds richness and body.
Serve it all with some bread, rice or noodles to soak up the winy sauce, and enjoy a classic combination of flavors, cooked in a streamlined, not-so-classic way.
Roasted Chicken With Crispy Mushrooms
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 to 2¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus 3 thyme sprigs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 12 ounces mushrooms (about 7 cups), such as oyster, maitake, shiitake or cremini, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon (or marjoram or sage), plus more for garnish if you like
- 1 tablespoon dry (fino) sherry or dry vermouth (or ½ tablespoon lime juice and ½ tablespoon orange juice)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Flaky salt, for serving
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large, rimmed sheet pan, season chicken all over with 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Rub garlic, thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon oil on chicken. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, onion wedges, tarragon, thyme sprigs and a large pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil until well coated.
- Spoon mushroom mixture around chicken. Roast until chicken is cooked through, and the mushrooms and onions are golden brown and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer chicken, onions and mushrooms to a serving platter.
- While the sheet pan is still very hot, add the sherry. Deglaze the pan by gently swirling the sherry and using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom. Stir in butter. (If you have a mini whisk, use it to whisk in the butter, otherwise a spoon is fine.) Pour pan sauce on top of chicken, onions and mushrooms, and serve sprinkled with flaky salt on top and more tarragon if you like.