I developed this recipe for my other food project “The Weekly Menu” after coming back from the farmers market with a. pile of delicious, sort of rare, and very seasonal ramps.
If you’re not from a swath of states bordering the Appalachian Mountains (or you’re not a huge food nerd) you may not know about ramps. Not highway entrances, or skate parks, or the thing you built in the middle of the street in 1979 out of three cinderblocks and a piece of splintery plywood so you could make sick jumps until your mom told you to quit it because she wasn’t going to the emergency room again.
Ramps. The vegetable.
Ramps are wild leeks. Tiny, delicate, dark green and bright red wild onion-like plants that resist cultivation and as such, are pretty much always foraged. They’ve always been prized because, well … they taste really good. I mean, they taste like really good green onions – so if you’re not an onion fan you’re going to be disappointed but why wouldn’t you be an onion fan? Onions are amazing, the backbone of all the good cooking that ever got cooked.
Here, we’ll roast some thighs, use the rendered fat with a little vinegar, a little mustard, and a healthy dose of both ramp stems and greens that both makes the dish a little tangy, and provides the base of a simple sauce that makes the ramps shine. The result goes perfectly with roasted potatoes or even just a good loaf of bread.
Chicken Thighs Roasted with Ramps and MushroomsCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Chicken thighs roasted with ramps (wild leeks) and mushrooms
4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 sprigs thyme
8 oz shitake mushrooms
1 cup dark chicken stock
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp whole grain mustard
½ tsp ground black pepper
- Season the thighs generously with salt and pepper.
- Scatter thyme sprigs around the chicken and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least one hour and up to 6. This will slightly dry the skin (which will help it crisp) and scent the chicken with the herbs.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- In an oven proof pan over medium heat, brown the chicken skin side town.
- Turn the chicken skin side up and transfer to the oven to cook for 30 minutes.
- Clean the mushrooms with a dry cloth and remove the woody ends of the stems.
- Separate the ramp greens from the stems.
- Finely chop the stems.
- Coarsely chop the greens.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Discard all but about 1 tbsp of the rendered fat from the pan.
- Over medium heat, add the chopped ramp stems to the fat and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the stock, vinegar, honey, and ramp tops.
- Cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the ramp tops are dark and soft.
- Return the chicken to the pan, arrange the mushrooms around the chicken and spoon some of the sauce over both the chicken and the mushrooms.
- Return to the oven to cook the mushrooms and re-warm the chicken – about 15 minutes.