Prep Time:  15 mins
Cook Time:  120 mins
Total Time:  135 mins
Servings:  12
Finished Seared Chicken Thighs covered in Collard Green Pesto

We’ll come right out with it: Chef Josh Lee knows soul food. Need a reference? Just ask Ludacris, who once leaned on Chef Lee as the Executive Chef of noted Atlanta eatery Chicken+Beer. (No, we don’t have his number... yet.) Chef Lee has since taken his talents across town to Lake & Oak Neighborhood BBQ, which serves the very dish you see before you today. This tasty recipe cleverly transforms collard greens — a staple of Soul food — into a pristine pesto that harmoniously blends with seared chicken thighs. Elevated Soul food, indeed!


Ingredients for Chicken Thighs

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp blended olive oil

Ingredients for Collard Green Pesto

  • 1½ cups blanched collards (drained with no liquid)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup blended olive oil

Items You'll Need


Instructions for Chicken Thighs & Collard Green Pesto

  1. Start blanching the collards by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil and filling a bowl with ice water. Place the greens in the boiling water for about 1 minute, at which point they’ll appear wilted and bright green. Move the collard greens to the ice water for a few minutes so they can cool, then transfer them to a strainer and press out as much of the water as you can. Set aside.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the hot oil until golden brown (about 7 minutes). Turn the chicken over and cook until browned again (about 5 more minutes). Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside. (Pro tip: if you’re using a grill, we still recommend using a cast iron pan over the flames rather than placing the chicken directly on the grates. This will ensure the chicken skin achieves the desired crispiness.)
  4. Put all collard green pesto ingredients except the ¼ cup of olive oil into a blender. Blend all ingredients until fairly smooth.
  5. Slowly incorporate the olive oil into the mixture through the blender cap opening, continuing to blend as you go. As you add the oil, the mixture should take on a creamy texture.
  6. Plate the chicken thighs, skin side up, on your dish before generously spooning the collard green pesto onto the chicken. The warmth of the chicken should slightly melt the pesto, causing it to sink into the chicken skin. Now sit back and enjoy!