Wood Grill: Chicken Thighs

I’m prepping a whole chicken for the wood grill and thought I should add the thigh recipes I’ve been using all summer.  BTW, the Apple Crisp recipe is here.

Wood Grilled Thighs

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Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs Without Oil

Pan roasted chicken thighs

I could have sworn I posted this before, but I found this photo in my saved dinner photos and it hasn’t been used and I didn’t see any recipes using this technique. This is a great way to get very crisp and moist chicken thighs without added oil. It’s very similar to how you crisp up duck skin.

Start with a cast iron skillet or oven safe frying pan, COLD. Add two bone-in, skin on thighs (seasoned with salt and pepper), skin side down. Turn the burner to MEDIUM and let cook until the skin is super crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn heat down if it looks as if the skin will burn before rendering all the fat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Flip over thighs sprinkle rosemary or tarragon over them. Add quartered potatoes and sliced carrots, tuck them down and around the thighs so they cook in the rendered fat and juices. Bake at 350 degrees until thighs register 170 to 175 degrees. About 30-45 minutes.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves two.

You can also braise chicken this way, recipe here.



 

Quick Crispy Braised Chicken Dinner

No photos because I completely forgot when it was done. If I make it again, I’ll update with a photo.

I picked up chicken thighs on sale last week and wanted to come up with some quick one-pan dinners for a few of them. That led to tonight’s dinner. It would work well with any bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces.

I like this recipe because it’s about 15-minute prep time, one pan and once it’s in the oven it’s hands-off. Tastes like a nice Sunday chicken roasted dinner. The crispy skin is a bonus.

Quick Braised Chicken Dinner
Serves 2*

  • 2 to 4 chicken thighs (depending on size)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • rosemary sprigs
  • 2 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and trimmed

large cast-iron or oven proof skillet

Pat dry chicken breasts. Salt and pepper generously, gently lift the skin and salt and pepper underneath it. Place skin-side down in a COLD skillet, no oil needed. Turn heat to medium-high and slowly heat chicken until skin is crisp.

By using a cold skillet, you allow the fat to render out of the chicken skin and it will crisp up nicely without sticking or burning. It will take about 10 minutes to crisp.

While the chicken is crisping, scrub and quarter potatoes and carrots

Turn chicken over – you’ll want to use a spatula so you don’t leave the skin behind. Remove from heat, add potatoes and carrots around the chicken pieces. Add enough water to cover all but the chicken skin (so it stays crisp). Top with rosemary sprigs.

Place skillet, uncovered, in oven and cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour – until potatoes and carrots are tender and chicken is cooked through. Check occasionally to see if you need to add more liquid.

Serve with a salad for a quick dinner.

*if you want to double this recipe, you’ll want to use a roasting pan after crisping the chicken in the skillet.

For a saucy Italian version of this, click here.

Braised Chicken

Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese

DSC_9212 (1600x1060)Mrs J was calling for mac and cheese today to go with the chicken thighs she brought up from the basement freezer.  I looked around and settled for a recipe Google served up that looked nice.  I have to mention that the roasting head of garlic really smelled good this morning as I was gathering all the ingredients.

Toasting the panko with butter was a nice touch but I nearly let it get away from me.  Only a few of the crumbs turned black before I removed the sauce pan from the burner – the toasting was quick once the pan reached temperature.  Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water, it sure did look soupy going into the casserole but it needed every drop.DSC_9205 (1600x1060)The recipe mentioned ramekins and I remembered to fill these two.  I set all the dishes on a baking tray, the big casserole (13″x9″) didn’t bubble over but these little fellows did.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

There are quite a few recipes out there for this dish and I read through several of them to get a feel for the spices involved.  I ended up with a marinade of olive oil, garlic, ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, ground cloves, red pepper flakes, paprika, lemon juice, and preserved lemon rind.  Marinate chicken parts for at least an hour.  I used bone in thighs with the skins removed.  Heat a little olive oil in a large, deep, skillet and brown the chicken on both sides.  Remove the thighs to a bowl and add a couple of cups of chopped onion to the pan, scraping the bottom to loosen the tasty brown bits, add a splash of broth to help.  Thinly slice a couple of garlic cloves and add them to the onions.DSC_8755 (1600x1060)

Add back the chicken and the rest of the marinade and enough broth to come at least halfway up the chicken.  I thought one lemon wasn’t quite enough and sliced up another.  Just use the rind, the pulp strips away pretty easily.  Rinse the rinds in cold water to remove some of the salt.  Cover and simmer for an hour or so.  I remembered that I had saffron that we looked high and low for a while back – I added a healthy pinch of it to the pan after grinding it in a mortar and soaking the powder in hot broth. DSC_8756 (1600x1060)Take the cooked chicken out and add large green olives to the remaining sauce, raise the heat to medium and reduce the sauce.DSC_8757 (1600x1060)Plate the chicken with a side of choice.  Rice will work, I used couscous cooked with dried apricots and cranberries.DSC_8761 (1600x1060)Spoon the reduced sauce over everything and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Cranberry Roasted Chicken

I was reorganizing the freezer today and found two bags of cranberries. Not possible! By this time I’m usually out and anxiously waiting for the season to begin again. But last year they were really inexpensive and I stocked up..then the bags got buried under vegetables. I took one out and thawed it, along with some chicken thighs. I used the recipe below, which is an adaptation of my original Cranberry Grilled Chicken from July 2010, but did a bit of experimentation. I lifted the skin on the thigh, seasoned and added the sauce between the meat and the skin. I replaced the skin, brushed it with olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees. The skin was crisp and flavorful and the meat was moist, tender and had cranberry infused through it.

No secret for anyone who reads the blog with any frequency that I love cranberries.  This cranberry chicken is tangy with a sweet and tangy crust.  Great with rice and a salad. I left out the marinade of cranberry juice and wine with this adaptation.

Cranberry Roasted Chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 8 oz whole berry cranberry sauce (I made my own from fresh cranberries)
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ground dried mustard
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

bowl, saucepan, baking dish

In saucepan, mix together all ingredients except chicken, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Loosen skin from chicken thighs, season meat, add 2-3 tbsp of cranberry mixture between skin and meat (I pulled the skin most of the way off, covered the meat with cranberries and folded the skin back over it). Brush the skin with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees until cooked through.

Mmm… sticky chicken

I did something similar not too long ago.  The wings were cooked in a crockpot that time but that was overkill so I roasted these in a similar marinade in my trusty toaster oven.   I finished the thighs I used this time on the stove top in a non stick pan after separating the fat from the marinade and cooking juices. These spent some time in the pan over medium low heat but they never got to the sticky as glue stage.  I decided I wanted sauce more than a crusted glaze so I added some stock with a bit more soy and oyster sauces along with more grated ginger root and minced garlic.  Yummy stuff.  Made fried rice to accompany the chicken.