Creamy Sweet Pepper Thighs with Pesto | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Creamy Sweet Pepper Thighs with Pesto

An easy one-skillet chicken dish perfect for weeknights or company

I’ve been seeing a lot of takes on one-dish comfort foods on social media and other online foodie sites lately. Some of the recipes appear to be lighter and healthier with a focus on plants and good proteins.

This recipe is a favorite of mine that my son and I whipped up last winter when we were craving something warm and flavorful. It happens to be keto-friendly, meaning it’s high in protein and fat and low in carbs, in case you’re eating in that fashion right now. And if you’re not following any particular eating plan, it’s still a wonderfully delicious chicken dish perfect for a weeknight meal or a Sunday dinner.

Creamy Sweet Pepper Thighs with Pesto
Tambi Lane Photo
Chicken thighs cooked in a creamy pepper sauce and topped with a simple pesto.

It may sound complicated but it’s really not; the sauce is made in the same pan as the chicken and the Kale Pesto is simple to whiz up. If you aren’t in the mood to make the pesto, skip it. The dish will still taste good.

I like thighs because of their juiciness, but you could certainly substitute other chicken pieces if you prefer. Use a thermometer to confirm the chicken is cooked through or pierce the thickest part of a piece of chicken with a fork or knife to make sure the juices run clear.

If the heavy cream has you hesitating, substitute canned coconut cream or canned coconut milk (full fat). You could also skip the cream and add another cup of broth or stock along with a couple pats of butter. The sauce won’t be as creamy but it will still have lovely flavor.

Creamy Sweet Pepper Thighs with Pesto
Serves 4-6

- 6 chicken thighs, skin on or off
- Kosher salt, as desired
- Black pepper, as desired
- Olive oil for frying, enough to cover bottom of skillet by ½ inch
- 12 small, sweet peppers, thinly sliced
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream

Wash chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Place chicken pieces in skillet and sear on both sides. Transfer chicken to a platter and set aside.

In same skillet with heat on medium, add sweet peppers and onion. Season with basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, paprika and garlic powder. Stir and cook for a few minutes until veggies are softened. Stir in lemon juice, stock and heavy cream. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add chicken back to skillet. Cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through (165 degrees internal temperature).

Top with Kale Pesto and serve.

Kale Pesto

- 1 bunch Lacinato (or Tuscan) kale
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup macadamia nuts or pistachios, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts or pine nuts
- 1 ½ cups olive oil
- Handful of cilantro
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Serve atop Creamy Sweet Pepper Thighs. Pesto can be stored in refrigerator for several days.

Donna Britt

Food writer, food stylist, recipe tester, cookbook editor, podcast producer/host are a few of the creative hats Donna Britt wears. Donna loves to hike, paddle board and spend quality time with family and friends. Oh, and she also collects cookbooks and cast iron cooking vessels.
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