In my opinion, the thighs on a chicken are one of the best easy to find and cheapest cuts of meat there are. Skin on, bone-in they can make a wonderful array of dishes, crisping up the skin and infusing the meat with flavor. I love to make Lemon Thyme Chicken thighs as it is a classic combination of flavors and, with a cast iron skillet, is very simple to make.
This is a go to recipe on rough nights as it is easy to put together and extremely tasty. Fresh thyme is the key and then getting the skin crispy which requires your skillet to be screaming hot and you being very watchful of the chicken as it can burn in a n instant. The best way to get the skin crispy is to do as the recipe above states and cook them over medium-high heat with a weight on them. This reduces the inevitability of burning the skin and allows you to take care of your side items while you are waiting.
The other recipe I am sharing is my chicken thighs with barbecue sauce. I like to serve them with roasted thyme potatoes and vinegar slaw. I do a lot of vinegar slaws as my wife is not a fan of mayonnaise (but she loves aioli, explain that one). I will give you the recipe for the chicken, the slaw, and the potatoes. It is a great meal and even my super picky kids eat most of it.
I do not cook my chicken thighs on the gas grill as it is too easy to burn them. On a charcoal grill, with the coals burned down, it is more manageable. I have smoked some thighs and they have turned out wonderful, so, if you are so inclined, follow my tips in my Barbecue entry. You will also find the barbecue sauce that I use on my thighs there. It is a nice and easy sauce and everyone seems to love it.
I always start with the slaw as it should sit in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
Start of with a bag of slaw mix. If you want to use fresh ingredients, which I normally do, shred 3 cups of cabbage and 1 cups of carrots. Toss together well and place in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and salt and pepper to taste. I always keep a pinch bowl with salt and pepper in it with a ratio of 3:1 salt to freshly ground black pepper.
Add the cabbage and carrots to the vinegar and toss to coat. It will not coat the entirety of the cabbage, but incorporate it as best as you can.
Next combine 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
Whisk together well and then pour it over the top of the cabbage mixture. Stir to incorporate. This should completely saturate the cabbage and carrots. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge while you work on the rest of the meal.
Next preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Take 8-10 medium red potatoes and cut them into relatively even, bite-sized pieces.
Your best bet is to slice them in half horizontally and then half again. Then slice the half into six pieces as shown below.
Place the in a large mixing bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, just enough to coat the potatoes but not saturate them. Next add a generous pinch of salt and pepper and 3-4 springs of fresh time finely chopped. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use dried. Use 2 tablespoons of it.
Next toss the potatoes to coat. If you have trouble tossing a bowl, stir together with a spoon until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. You can also use foil, but make sure you use cooking spray so the potatoes do not stick. Another trick is to make sure the peel is down and the meat of the potato is facing up. This will allow for a crispier finish.
Place in preheated over for 25-30 minuted or until the points begin to brown.
Now it is time for the chicken thighs. I use about 2 1/2 pounds for my family. That is about six thighs. I also use boneless, skinless thighs for this as they are easier to eat and they are quicker to cook.
Prepare my honey molasses barbecue sauce found in my Barbecue post and reserve it in a small bowl with a basting brush.
Place a liberal amount of salt and pepper on the thighs and let them rest for fifteen minutes or until they are close to room temperature. Preheat a 14 inch skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bring to heat over medium-high heat. The amount of time this will take depends solely on your stove.
Cook for 7 minutes on the first side, place the side where the skin used to be down and then flip them.
Once you flip them, baste them liberally with barbecue sauce.
Cooke them or 5-7 minutes or until the internal temperature reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then flip them again and baste them liberally.
After cooking for 3 minutes, they should be done, but temp them. They should read at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from pan and let rest for 5-7 minutes. This allows them to come to the proper temperature and the juices to evenly distribute.
Remove the slaw form the fridge and toss again. Place the potatoes on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before serving. I recommend serving the slaw in a separate dish as to not contaminate the rest of the food with the vinegar dressing.
Chicken, in general is a very versatile protein. It will take on any flavors you introduce. Experiment and try flavor combinations that no one else could think of. I once did a mole and served it over fried plantains and white rice. It was delicious.
As usual, any comments or questions, shoot them here.
The graphic for the recipe for lemon thyme chicken was provided my Meredith Gerber.