Using Thighs Can Make Chicken Dinner a Winner

Nobody really knows who came first: the chicken or the egg? We also don’t know why the chicken finally decided to cross the road. But maybe I can give you some answers to another age-old debate on poultry: should you cook with the breast or the thigh?

The answer, at least in the United States, for many years has been boneless, skinless breasts. But according to industry experts, that is about to change. Chicken thighs are loved in countless cuisines around the world. The good news is that both chicken breasts and thighs are a winner and are often used interchangeably in recipes. The choice depends on personal taste preferences, how long the chicken cooks, and whether the dish needs a consistent size or shape.

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For example, if you are making a stir-fry, breast meat is probably a better choice; it’s a softer cut, with little collagen to break down, and will stay juicy and flavorful when cooked over high heat for a short period of time.

Carolyn VandeWiele

On the other hand, if you cook slowly and slowly, skin-on thighs are a great choice. The skin tends to protect the meat from drying out and the higher fat, collagen and bone content add wonderful flavors.

Overall, chicken is a good source of lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. The thighs tend to be slightly lower in protein and higher in fat than the breasts, but there is only one gram more saturated fat per 3-ounce serving, and the thighs and breasts have the best. same relative amounts of iron, sodium and good cholesterol. If you are serious about reducing the fat content in your diet, trim excess fat from the underside of the thigh before cooking and discard the skin (which contains most of the “bad” fats) after cooking – you will get all the benefits of self-watering, moisture and flavor during the cooking process but less fat in the final dish.

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In general, I love chicken thighs and especially chicken thighs with bone and skin on. They have more flavor than the breasts, especially when looking for free-range chickens, but still have less game than duck or goose. They tend to go well with all kinds of flavors, and the thigh is more tolerant than the brisket if cooked at temperatures above 165 degrees. Boneless versions are great for salads and sandwiches, but bone-in thighs are great for braising and roasting. The bones can be reserved to make a good broth. Overall, thighs also tend to be more economical to buy, and they freeze well when purchased in bulk.

The last issue of Delish magazine had a number of chicken recipes, all of which called for skin-on thighs, so I decided to try some for this column, as well as a blog post.

We started with six versions of marinated chicken thighs: Teriyaki, paprika, balsamic, dijon honey, cilantro, lime and garlic pepper marinades are just a few of the flavors you might try. I mixed the marinades, put each marinade and a few thighs in an easy-to-seal freezer bag, and put them all back in the fridge to soak up the flavors. You should leave the thighs in the marinade for at least an hour or two, but overnight or even up to 48 hours will make the flavors more intense.

Once marinated, the thighs were seared for 3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat, then baked in the oven until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees. They came out tasty and juicy. We sampled each variety served with rice and broccoli for dinner and grated a few leftovers along with diced veg to make a chicken salad for lunch the next day.

My favorites were the teriyaki (with Asian accents) and the cilantro lime (which had a touch of Indian flavors). The paprika marinade benefited from a little fresh paprika sprinkled on the thigh before putting them in the oven but could have used a bit more heat. I also spread a little more mustard on the honey dijon thighs before cooking, as much of the mustard came off during the marinating process.

This Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs recipe makes a simple, tasty, and filling dish, but feel free to add a green veggie.

Delish’s second recipe was for Pan-fried lemon butter chicken thighs. Chicken thighs, baby potatoes, red onion and lemon slices combine with garlic, thyme and oregano in a savory butter sauce. Serve it with a green vegetable or salad or make it a real meal in a single pot by adding Brussels sprouts or halved broccoli to roast with the rest of the meal. Butternut squash or acorn squash might be a healthier substitution for potatoes. And you can make cleanup even easier by lining your roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil before adding your ingredients.

And finally for a change of flavors, I made a Chicken Cacciatore from the blog “The Modern Proper”. Cacciatore is a hunter’s stew that can be prepared in a number of ways. The Italian-born culinary writer Marcella Hazan writes that, because “there has always been a hunter in almost every Italian household, every Italian cook prepares a dish with a claim to this description”. But they still contain tomatoes, onions and other vegetables combined with meat of a certain variety. This combines shallots, mushrooms and peppers with chicken thighs in a hearty broth flavored with chicken broth and red wine. Serve it with crusty bread or over rice or noodles for a hearty meal this fall.

Chicken cacciatore can be served with rice, like here, noodles or a piece of crusty bread.

So if you haven’t crossed the culinary route to discover chicken thighs yet, these recipes provide great places to start. Then you might be tempted to try others, until, as Food Channel’s Guy Fieri might say, you find your “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” “

Marinated chicken thighs

Source: Delish: issue 3, 2021

Our favorite cut of chicken: bone-in thighs. Slightly higher in fat and much richer in flavor, it’s almost impossible to overcook them. We follow the same method each time: pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 1 hour. Sear 3 minutes per side and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until the thighs register an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Some suggestions for marinades (or try making your own):

Teriyaki: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of grated ginger.

Paprika: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of paprika. 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves.

Balsamic: 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard, 3 cloves of garlic, minced, crushed with red pepper flakes

Dijon honey: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup whole Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of honey.

Coriander Lime: Juice of 2 limes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.

Garlic Pepper: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, juice of 1 lime.

Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs

Source: Laura Rege, Delish Issue 3, 2021

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened, divided

1 1/4 lbs baby potatoes, halved

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, zested and thinly sliced

4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided, plus more leaves for serving

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided

2 1/2 pounds skin and bone chicken thighs

1 small red onion, halved and cut into 3/4 inch wedges

5 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a spatula, spread 2 tablespoons of butter on the bottom of a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast until just starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, lemon zest, 3 teaspoons of thyme and 1 teaspoon of oregano.

3. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken, including under the skin. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme and ½ teaspoon of oregano.

4. Add the onion, lemon slices and garlic to a baking sheet and toss with the potatoes. Nestle the chicken thighs in the potato mixture. Roast until golden brown and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 35 minutes.

chicken Cacciatore

Source: The Modern Proper blog

6 skin and bone chicken thighs, fatty edges cut off

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

⅓ cup of flour (optional)

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

2 shallots, ½ inch sliced

8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, ends removed, sliced

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ​​or coarsely chopped

1 cup of chicken broth

1 cup of red wine (such as pinot noir)

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 can (6 ounces) black olives, drained, optional

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Fresh basil, optional

Parmesan, optional

1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Place the flour on a plate. Gently dip the chicken in the flour on both sides. This is optional. If you skip this step, the chicken will brown a little slower and the sauce will be a little thinner.

4. Place the chicken in the hot oil skin side down for 5 minutes, without disturbing it (adjust the heat if it browns too quickly), turn and repeat on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate.

5. Combine the bell pepper, shallots and mushrooms in the pan and sauté for 4 minutes until the onions start to soften, add the garlic for the last minute or two of this step.

6. Add chicken broth, wine, Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Return the chicken thighs to the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 7 minutes.

7. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and olives (if using) and simmer for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the internal temperature of the chicken thighs registers 165 degrees on a reading thermometer. instant.

8. Garnish with fresh basil and optional Parmesan cheese for serving.

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