Tighten the flesh and skin around the bone of each chicken thigh and pierce with a cocktail skewer so that the skin remains taut.
Put the flour in a large bowl with half the salt and pepper and toss the thighs in the seasoned flour until lightly coated.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and cook the chicken, skin side up, for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden.
Transfer the chicken to a roasting tin, skin side up, and scatter over the remaining salt and pepper. Cook in a preheated oven, 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6, for 20–25 minutes until the chicken is golden and cooked through; when the chicken is pierced the juices should run clear.
Scatter over the thyme leaves to garnish and serve with simple green vegetables or a crisp salad.