A couple of weeks ago, I had taken chicken out of the freezer for a mid week weeknight chicken dinner and recipe to share with you guys, but then I never actually came up with a plan for it, so I got home on the night I was going to make chicken with defrosted thighs and no plan. I wandered around and stared aimlessly at my cookbooks, and picked up one of the Fine Cooking compilations that they do (I highly recommend picking them up when you see them in the bookstore, I think they do them a couple of times a year) devoted to chicken. They didn’t have anything in there that called my name this particular evening (though there is a fab recipe for braised chicken with tomatoes and fennel that I love and will share with you when the weather is more appropriate for it) but it did make me think of another Fine Cooking chicken recipe that my Auntie A. now considers a family fave – Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Sweet & Sour Orange Dipping Sauce. The name cracks me up, because I feel like it doesn’t sound at all like what it is. In my case, it was whole thighs (bone-in, with skin) coated with oil, brown sugar, rosemary and spices, and grilled, inside on the grill pan, to a delicious finish. I didn’t bother with the sauce.
The original recipe uses boneless skinless thighs, served with the sauce for dipping, which would also be tasty, I’d imagine, so perhaps one day I’ll try it. But my modification suited me just fine. It was really good, and crazy fast, and while I would recommend doing this outside on a grill if you can, because I think that would make it easier to control the heat and the char, etc., or maybe try roasting the thighs with the oil and rub, with a little diligence, these worked just fine inside. (To be sure, the boneless skinless thighs would certainly be easier and quicker inside, but taking the thighs off the bone would not have been quicker, for sure, and removing chicken skin and just throwing it away makes me sad, because, you know, chicken skin…delish. Maybe next time I can try to get the thighs off the bone but keep the skin. Experiment!)
These are a little spicy from the red pepper flakes, and a little sweet from the sugar. The rosemary flavor is awesome – I am sometimes a little wary of rosemary because it is strong and woody and can be overly prominent at times, but not here. It’s great here. And it was great for lunch the next day too. I made some small smashed potatoes to go with it, and tossed them with garlic scape compound butter (compound butters are miraculous – I will post about those) and had a kind of unexpectedly great last minute dinner. And it would have been even easier had I more space to spread out on a grill…the size of the grill pan makes it very hard to grill anything off of direct heat, obviously, so I did have to pay attention. I imagine the grill would add a smoky flavor too, which would be great, if that’s the kind of thing that revs your engine. Maybe I will try roasting it next time to see what that does…and maybe marinating it with all the good stuff for a couple hours or a day would intensify the flavors a little bit (more experiments!) Anyway, this was really tasty and really easy, even easier and tastier than I expected, so I recommend it wholeheartedly!
So now, I have some questions for you…
A) Are you in the northeast corridor and did you feel the earthquake today? Crazy! (heh)
B) Does anyone know what happened to summer? Because it is fall. And while fall is my most favorite season of all, we totally got the short shrift on summer this year. It didn’t start until Memorial Day and it is going to end in mid-August? Nonsense.
C) What should I do to make B&G better? I would like to do some work on this here little spot over the next couple of months, and have a new and improved B&G for 2012…what should I change/fix?
What I am listening to: The National, Boxer, and Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine. John Prine is awesome (also, hilarious) and this is an awesome compilation of awesome people singing his awesome songs.
What I am reading: “Brideshead Revisited” Evelyn Waugh – just starting it. Can’t wait to finish it and then Netflix the mini-series and the movie. Favorite game ever. Also, I am glad I am not a boy whose name is Evelyn. I imagine that isn’t easy.
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Brown Sugar (serves 3-4, depending on appetite)
Adapted from Fine Cooking
1 tbl minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbl canola oil, plus more for the grill
6 chicken thighs (or chicken pieces of choice)
Heat a grill pan over medium heat for several minutes until hot. In the meantime, mix together the rosemary, salt, sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and set aside. Toss the chicken pieces with 2 tbl of canola oil, and rub with the rosemary mixture to coat well. When you are ready to put the chicken on the grill, rub the grill with a bit of the oil to prevent sticking. Cook chicken thighs turning and moving frequently to prevent burning, until cooked through – juices run clear when pricked with a fork or knife or internal temperature is 175 on an instant thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the bone – (20 minutes or so?) When chicken is cooked through, remove from the heat and let rest for five minutes. Serve with sides of your choice. So easy! Leftovers don’t suffer. (NOTE: my tendency is to salt things once I take them off the heat and before serving. Resist the urge to do so with these, the rub is pretty salty. Wait until you’ve tasted it.)