Chicken thighs take center stage this fall

These juicy, tender pieces bring a more robust flavor to autumn meals that often can’t be matched

    While chicken breasts seem to get all the glory, chicken thighs are sometimes treated as the little sibling.
    In part, that’s because chicken thighs are a bit fattier than the white meat.
    In fact, a three-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast has about 140 calories, 26 grams protein, three grams fat and one gram saturated fat. The same amount of skinless chicken thigh has 152 calories, 21 grams protein, seven grams fat and two grams saturated fat.
    And chicken thighs are tender, juicy and flavorful. They’re a good source of protein and often less expensive as the white meat.
    Chicken thighs lend themselves to all sorts of cooking methods — including baking, braising, grilling, sauteing, oven frying and slow cooking.
    Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are often the least expensive cut, but for flavor without the fat, cook thighs with the skin on and remove it before serving.
    Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a weeknight dinner dream. They cook through quickly and add a significant amount of flavor to any dish.
    Remember, no matter how you make your chicken thighs, the general rules for cooking chicken always apply. Always wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken and use clean knives, cutting boards and counters. Wash the cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water after using them and take extra care to wash everything before prepping other ingredients.
    A meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer is the best way to check for the doneness of cooked chicken. The internal temperature of thighs should be at least 165 degrees when taken at the thickest part of the meat.
    Following are a few recipes using chicken thighs from

Turmeric Chicken Flatbread

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 red jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 pieces naan
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

    Combine vinegar, honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add jalapenos and stir gently to cover. Set aside.
    Toss chicken with pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl.
    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 10 to 12 minutes, tossing occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and is crispy in some spots. Transfer chicken to a plate and add spinach and 1 clove garlic. Cook one to two minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is just wilted but still a vibrant green.  
    Whisk yogurt with lemon juice, remaining turmeric, remaining garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl until smooth.
    Place naan on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining olive oil. Broil two to three minutes, until crispy and charred in places.
    Top each piece of naan with some spinach, then with chicken, pickled jalapenos and cilantro leaves. Drizzle with yogurt sauce. Serve warm.  


Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic, separated into whole cloves, papery skin removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 lemon, juiced
Bread, for serving

    Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper liberally and set aside.
    In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, cook garlic cloves in olive oil and butter about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Remove garlic from the pan and set aside.
    Increase heat to medium high and brown the chicken about five minutes, skin-side down, until skin is golden and crispy. Turn chicken over, sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Place garlic back into the pan and place hot pan in oven. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Place chicken thighs and garlic on a platter.
    Place pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle the drippings with flour and stir to incorporate. Deglaze pan with the stock and lemon juice. Pour sauce over the chicken on the platter and serve with bread.


Chunky Chicken Chowder

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
10 to 12 thyme sprigs, in a bundle
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
8 ounces frozen white corn
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, halved for spritzing

    Cut flaps from the thighs and cube the meat, leaving some meat on the bone. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
    Place 2 tablespoons butter and the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chicken thigh bones and cubed thigh meat. Brown on all sides, then remove the meat to a plate. Lower heat slightly and add the onions, thyme and bay leaves. Season onions with salt and saute about five minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook about four minutes, stirring, until the garlic is tender. Return the chicken to the pot and add the stock. Raise the heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add potatoes and frozen corn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
    Make a paste with the remaining butter and the flour and set aside. When potatoes are tender remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Lower the heat and add the milk, cream and flour paste in bits. Stir to mix and allow the flour to blend into the chowder. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer chowder to a serving bowl and spritz with lemon before serving.


Chicken Tandoori

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-3/4 teaspoons hot paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked rice, for serving, optional

    Make shallow cuts in the chicken thighs with a sharp knife. Toss chicken with the lemon juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.
    Place 2 tablespoons yogurt, vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse to make a paste. Toss chicken in the mixture and let marinate 15 minutes.
    Place chicken on a foil-lined broiler pan. Broil five to six minutes per side, turning once, until slightly charred and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees.
    Combine remaining yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, cilantro and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Top chicken with the yogurt sauce and serve with rice, if desired.


Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
One 1-ounce package dry onion soup mix
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12 ounces egg noodles
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

    Whisk together broth, flour, tomato paste, onion soup mix, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Place in a six-quart slow cooker and top with the mushrooms and chicken. Cover and cook on high for four hours.
    When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add noodles and cook until al dente according to the package directions. Drain, then toss in a large bowl with butter until the butter is melted and noodles are coated.
    Transfer chicken to a small bowl and shred with two forks. Whisk cream cheese into the sauce until completely incorporated, then stir in chicken and noodles. Top with parsley before serving.


Chicken Thighs With Creamy Mustard Sauce

8 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 cups halved and thinly sliced yellow onions
2 tablespoons dry white wine
8 ounces creme fraiche
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

    Place chicken thighs on a cutting board, skin side up, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Turn over and sprinkle them with one teaspoon salt.
    Heat one tablespoon olive oil in an 11 to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, place chicken, skin side down, in the pan in one layer. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes without moving, until the skin is golden brown. If the skin gets too dark, turn the heat to medium low.
    Turn chicken pieces  and add onions to the pan, placing some under the chicken, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring onions occasionally, until the thighs are 155 to 160 degrees and onions are browned. Transfer chicken to a plate and allow to rest uncovered. If the onions aren’t browned, cook them for another minute.
    Add the wine, creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard and one teaspoon salt to the skillet with the onions and stir over medium heat for one minute. Return chicken, skin side up, and juices to the skillet, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.


Marinated Chicken Thighs

2 cups fresh parsley leaves, chopped
8 large sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, diced
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons cracked pink peppercorns
1-1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
8 skin-on chicken thighs
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for seasoning
Salad, for serving

    Mix parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, black peppercorns and pink peppercorns in a bowl. Add olive oil to cover. Set aside two tablespoons of the marinade.
    Place chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag. Add marinade, seal bag and place in  refrigerator overnight.
    Preheat grill to medium.
    Remove chicken thighs from the marinade, pat dry and place, fleshy-side down, on hot grill. Grill seven to eight minutes per side, turning once, until cooked through. Finish with reserved marinade and some flaky salt.


Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press or minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

    Combine soy sauce, sugar, sherry, vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and stir until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and add the chicken. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator, turning once, for one to four hours.
    Heat broiler to high. Arrange chicken on a broiler pan, skin side down, and broil eight to 10 minutes, until brown and crispy. Flip chicken and broil eight minutes, until almost cooked through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cook one to two minutes, until the seeds turn golden brown and the chicken is done.


Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs With Grapes and Olives

8 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups seedless red and/or green grapes
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers in brine, drained
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups quick-cooking couscous, cooked according to package, warm

    Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in a large, ovenproof high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Sear chicken, skin-side down, three to four minutes, until golden brown. Flip and sear three to four minutes, until browned. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid crowding the skillet.
    Transfer browned chicken and any juices to a baking sheet or large plate.
    Lower heat to medium and add garlic, one cup grapes, olives, capers, oregano, wine and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, then cook six to eight minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in butter. Return chicken, skin side up, and any juices back to the skillet. Sprinkle remaining grapes around the chicken and continue cooking over medium heat for six to eight minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
    Place skillet underneath the broiler and broil two minutes, until skin is crisp, watching carefully to avoid burning.
    Divide warm couscous among four plates and top each plate with two chicken thighs and a large spoonful of sauce.


Grilled Chicken Thighs With Blackberry Sauce

1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Olive oil
For blackberry barbecue sauce:
3 pints fresh blackberries
12 ounces dark beer
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 habanero pepper, slit
1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin

    In a large saucepan, combine blackberries, beer, vinegars, sugar, onion, garlic, habanero, chipotle powder, coffee, coriander and cumin. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for two hours. Carefully puree the sauce in a blender or food processor, then strain.
    Refrigerate half for another use.
    To make meat, combine coriander, paprika and salt in a small bowl. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels, season on both sides with spice mixture and place in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Refrigerate several hours to overnight.
    Heat grill to create two heat zones: high and low. Brush chicken thighs with olive oil and place, skin-side down, on the hot side of the grill. Cover and cook two minutes. Uncover and move the chicken to the low side of the grill, skin-side up. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
    Pour half the barbecue sauce into a medium bowl and use to baste the chicken occasionally during the final 10 minutes of cooking.
    Remove chicken from the grill. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.




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