Monday, February 13, 2012

adventures in solo cooking: grilled rosemary chicken thighs

There are only so many days without real cooking that I can take.  You'd think I could just appreciate the break from putting a full meal on the table when it's just me and the cat at home, but you would be wrong.  I love the break for a meal or two, but then I'm just too hungry for freshly prepared anything and I run to the store or raid the freezer, fridge and pantry and whip something up.  One day this past week I stopped by the store and found some boneless, skinless chicken thighs marked for quick sale and logged on to Fine Cooking to find some new way to prepare them that used ingredients I have on hand.  My home is ridiculously well-stocked with food.  Especially considering how many people are generally gathered around the table (or the kitchen island as is sadly the case all too often), I am in no danger of going hungry.  

Growing up I would only eat the dark meat chicken parts.  I seriously drove my parents to the edge one vacation where if I couldn't have a chicken leg or drumstick for dinner, I would not eat.  I do not have the vault like memory of my childhood that both my brothers have, but I do remember that trip to Florida and back.  I like to think I was a lovely child, but really when the truth is told (and my memory often glosses right over the truth) I was a bit of a trial.  Good grades, high achiever and talented in my own ways but easy to love was probably not how anyone would remember me.  Back to the chicken:  seriously, I only wanted dark meat?  For the last 30 years my light to dark meat ratio is about 99:1.  My children have never eaten the dark meat.  My husband will eat the dark meat off the bone like a jungle cat.  Not a morsel left.  So now that it's just me or just the two of us, when I make a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken I have a few nibbles of the dark meat and remember why I loved it when I was small.  It's pretty tasty.  Sure, it's not as low-fat diet friendly but I'm not eating the skin and I'm trimming the visible fat.  Chicken thighs are super budget friendly and the ones I rescued from their sell-by crisis were just a steal.  Live a little, have a bit of dark meat.  

The recipe I deemed worthy of a free evening spent in the kitchen?  Grilled rosemary chicken thighs with orange dipping sauce.  The Fine Cooking recipe calls for skewering the chicken thigh meat, but I decided just to use my grill pan on my cooktop and skip the skewers.  The chicken rub is spicy and full of flavor.  The orange sauce is quick and delicious.  I made a brown/wild rice blend and roasted some broccoflower for my own well-rounded meal.  And I had leftovers.  After a week on the road, there's nothing like leftovers for Greg.  Love that.  

voila, dinner

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Orange Dipping Sauce

1 T and 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp and 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper 
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
one cup orange marmalade (I used low-sugar marmalade)
1/4 C rice vinegar

In a small bowl, mix 1 T of rosemary with the brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  In a shallow pan, drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken and toss to coat.  Sprinkle the chicken with the rosemary mixture and rub or toss to coat evenly.  The chicken can wait in the refrigerator for a few hours if needed.

Grill the chicken (skewered or not) over medium-high heat on your grill outside or inside on a grill pan until marks are visible on one side, 4-6 minutes.  Turn and continue grilling until marks are visible on the other side and the thighs are cooked through, and additional 4-6 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat marmalade, rice vinegar and remaining 1 tsp of rosemary and stir until the marmalade is melted and the mixture is uniform,  3-5 minutes.  Serve chicken while hot with the dipping sauce warm.

ingredients

chicken with rub and olive oil

dipping sauce (melting marmalade with rice vinegar and rosemary)

thighs on my grill pan



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