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Chicken thighs

I bought chicken thighs the past week because I realized they're so much cheaper than breasts
I cooked them on a pan like breasts, and they took a whole lot longer and by the end they were smoking up the kitchen
They were delicious with a crispy skin and they were cooked perfectly, but that obviously wasn't the best method
What would be - roasting? And could I roast say only one or two thighs at a time?

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  1. were they on the bone? roasting is definitely the way to go.

    you could roast one or two, but i do the whole package and eat the thighs over the course of a few days. (would you turn on your oven to cook one sausage?) they have far more flavor than tasteless white meat and yes, are way cheaper.

    for everyday chicken, i roast at 450, after sprinkling the skin with plenty of salt and dried thyme. takes about 40 minutes or so for 6-8 pieces.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I've braised thighs successfully. You brown, then lower heat and add a little liquid. I've done this for 4 thighs, which is 2 servings for us. I usually skin them, because we are fat conscious, but I coat with a little olive oil before browning. I also bake them over rice successfully. This is very easy to do. Put your rice in a baking dish (greased or sprayed) and layer in other things like chopped onion, chopped green pepper, mushrooms. And lay the skinned thighs on top. Fill the baking dish with chicken broth after you have placed it on the oven rack. When the thighs are done, the rice will be too. I usually add more liquid about halfway through about a 40 min bake at 400 deg.

    2. I buy them all the time, & pan-cooking really isn't the way to go with the bone-in skin-on ones except for an initial browning. Then transfer them to a baking dish & bake or roast until done. They're also TERRIFIC for braised dishes like Coq au Vin or Chicken Cacciatore for those times when you don't want to use a whole cut-up chicken. I also LOVE boneless, skinless chicken thighs to cut up for casseroles, stir-fry dishes, etc., etc. Good stuff. Yes, they take a bit longer to cook because they're dark meat, but they also maintain more juices, are less likely to dry out, & have more flavor.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Breezychow

        I second all these remarks, and those by others who think thighs are about the best thing going with chicken. Like hotoynoodle, I tend to buy them on sale around here (anything at or close to $1 per pound) bone-in and skin-on. But more often than not, I strip the skin, liberally season them with spice rub, and roast them in a foil-lined broiler pan, poking holes in the foil to aid drainage. 375-400 degrees for about 15 minutes per side and then test for progress.

        Usually I do a sort of BBQ/Southwest seasoning--featuring chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, cayenne, and garlic and onion powders, along with S/P. Then, as they are close to done, I baste them in BBQ sauce and flip them a few times, broiling if need be to get some color and browning. People flip over these things, although they're really cheap and easy to make.

        1. re: Bada Bing

          i'll come to your house for the skin you don't want, lol. sometimes i make them just for the crispy skin.

          sometimes i braise them also, especially to finish with a creamy mushroom sauce, but, oh, that skin!

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Or, . . . remove the skin as Bada Bing suggests, but just put it aside. Then, while the dish is in the oven, fry the skins up to "tide yourself over" until dinner is ready to plate. A just reward to the chef for the effort of making a "healthy" meal.

            1. re: MGZ

              oh, my b/f would get to those long before i was finished cooking, lol.

            2. re: hotoynoodle

              Actually, I like chicken skin a lot. But I strip the skins in this case mainly because I like the way the spice rub (I use a LOT) and the BBQ sauce adhere to the meat itself. Maybe I'll try skin-on again to refresh my memory about the two approaches.

              I do think it's much better to leave the bones in, I might add. Better flavor, and I think it keeps the interior moister.

        2. In my opinion, thighs are the best part of the chicken. Roasted or braised is awesome. I've done coq au vin with them, for example.

          Interesting factoid: Most expensive part of the chicken in N. America - breast. Most expensive part of the chicken in Asia and Russia - thigh. There's a huge market in shipping thighs to Asia and breasts to America. No joke.

          1. Your mistake was using too high a temp. Start skin side down over no higher then medium heat and be patient. Once the skin is brown and well-rendered, flip over to the bone side to finish. It does take more time. I like thighs for Chicken Marbella. The Silver Palate recipe is done entirely in the oven but I prefer using an oven-safe sautee pan to first brown the skin side of the marinated thighs (wipe off the solids and pat the skin dry) slowly to render the fat. Then flip, add the reserved marinade, wine, and sugar and follow the oven baking directions. Leaving ample room around the pieces (transfer to a larger baking dish if need be) allows the skin to cook thoroughly. While it is not crisp, it is delicious and not rubbery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              gerndel -- I totally agree with greygarious on Chicken Marbella. A classic -- beautiful, complex flavors, crowd-pleaser, even special enough for a holiday. Consistent wow factor.

              greygarious -- I've made Marbella many times, but I've never browned the meat first. What motivated you to do it that way? I may try that. I cook chicken (mostly thighs) all the time, and actually Marbella is one of the only chicken dishes that I make in which I don't brown the meat first. With Marbella, the meat roasts to beautiful golden perfection and of course, I do like pulling the ziploc out of the fridge and tossing it right into the oven.

            2. I love chicken thighs, and can't make a paella without them. I like to brown them in s&p, ground mexican oregano, paprika & cayenne for the paella.

              I guess you can start by browning them, and then finish them in a variety of sauces depending on the cuisine.

              1. I often get the 8 pack and split them into 2 or 3 pans so each one might be seasoned differently. Might herb one set, pour Frank's on a couple for buffalo flavor and a soy based topping on the others. I then throw them in the oven.

                2 Replies
                1. re: calliope_nh

                  Second all the wise responses here, but want to add marinating as a boon to thigh-heaven.

                  To get flavor to the bone, I frequently brine my thighs - bought on sale as well, but NEVER cheap southern, factory-farmed thighs, which taste like meh, dirt, unknown chemicals, stress and sadness near the bone...
                  Brine in a salt/little brown sugar/ bay leaf, couple of garlic cloves, a couple of cloves/ fresh thyme for 4 hours to overnight (lessen salt in brine ratio if holding overnight). Then drain, rinse, pat dry, refridgerate for a couple hours, and basically follow greygarious method above, adding wine, lemon, more garlic, thyme, etc. after the low skin down browning.

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    one of my faves is marinate the thighs with yogurt and lemon juice, with some garlic, bay and cayenne. no more than 4 hours though, or the meat gets weird. then roast. wow, super good.

                2. Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo is great using all skin on, bone in thighs. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/23/din...

                  1. Braising and grilling get my vote. My favourite thigh variations are piri-piri (or peri-peri) marinade and Peruvian-style marinade, both on the grill. Amazing!

                    1. Thighs with 40 cloves of garlic--delish. Throw them in a roasting pan with four separated heads of garlic, not peeled. Douse with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake 400 for 45-60 minutes.
                      Squeeze roasted garlic on toasted french bread. You can add lemon, thyme, whatever.

                      1. This video shows how easy it is to remove skin & bone from the chicken thigh. I especially enjoy them grilled teriyaki style. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJkz8C...

                        But when I cook thighs as-is I brown in the skillet, cooking most of the fat out of the skin, then simmer in a canned tomato mixture to make Cacciatore or Veracruz style.

                        1. I usually go ahead and buy leg quarters instead of just thighs. I get hem for $1 per pound.

                          You can braise them but I usually roast them in the oven on a broiler pan or a jelly roll pan and a rack. 375 degrees F for 75 minutes skin side up.

                          As a bonus, I save the bones for stock.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            One of my favorite recipes happens to be one that uses chicken thighs. It is from Suzanne and it is memorable.


                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              OMG, Hank ... 75 minutes?? What's left after all that time?

                            2. First things first, this how I pan-fry my chx. thighs: http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2...

                              Now, you've made a good decision in picking up thighs v. breasts -- I'm firmly in the more-flavour camp with everyone else here. When I'm braising them (which is usually how I roll), I make 4 or more; the man will eat two, I'll eat one, and I'll have the remaining one for lunch the next day.

                              If you share my love affair with white beans, you should try a nice cassoulet with skinless thighs. Slow-cooked then shredded and mixed with other ingredients/flavours, dark meat makes a great taco or sandwich filling. It holds up better in soups without getting that unappealing sawdust texture, and I have had great success with chicken thigh tamales. Finally, because I'm making myself hungry, I like them stuffed, held together with a strip of bacon wrapped around, glazed with something tasty, and baked.

                                1. Chicken thighs from happy chickens are a treat just about however you do them. They're fine done entirely on the stove, started on the stove then tossed in the oven, or done entirely in the oven. Cook 'em dry or braise 'em, great either way.

                                  I second the good advice you're getting here. To answer your questions directly, you just can't use such high heat throughout. If you want to do them on the stove, give the skin a good initial browning, turn, and lower the heat to finish them fairly gently. You'll probably want to turn them a few times throughout. You can partially cover to cook faster and more evenly, but you'll likely lose that perfect skin. Cooking times obviously vary a great deal depending on whether your thighs are boneless. I prefer bone-in unless I'm chopping for a sauté or stir-fry. And, yes, you can absolutely roast one or two thighs at a time. I do it often when I'm alone, in a little 8-inch skillet.

                                  One of my favorite fast lazy dinners is just herb-roasted thighs on greens. Chop up a bunch of your favorite fresh herb (thyme works well) and shove a ton under the skin of each thigh. Season with salt. Melt a knob of butter (or splash some oil) in a skillet with some more herb and 7 or 8 smashed garlic cloves. Casually toss the thighs around in the mixture to ensure they're coated in that flavorful fat, then space them well, skin-side up, with a garlic clove or two underneath each thigh. Spoon some herby fat over the top of each thigh. Roast at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, basting a couple of times. If you think they're done before beautifully brown, you can crank the heat up for a few minutes toward the end. Exact times are hard because thighs vary in size so much these days. You can also brown them on the stove to start, which I sometimes do depending on my mood. Serve over a large bowl of lightly-dressed greens, with some pan juices drizzled on top. A multigrain roll pairs well but ain't necessary. A nice IPA, however...

                                  1. Head over to youtube and watch jacques pepin - he's got an amazing technique and recipe for chicken thights, cooked very simply in a non-stick skillet, skin down, and finished with cover on. Here's his recipe. He's great to watch.

                                    Recipe: Crusty Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Sauce

                                    Thighs are the part of the chicken that I enjoy most. When I cook them in stews or with a sauce, I remove the skin because when it is cooked with moisture, it gets rubbery and releases all its fat into the sauce.

                                    In this recipe, I cook the thighs in a skillet skin side down, so the skin becomes crisp, dry, and beautifully browned. Make sure to use a nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, so as the skin fries, the flesh is cooked by the steam. The portions are relatively small here, but within the context of a menu this is enough meat.

                                    4 servings

                                    * 4 large chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds total), skin on
                                    * 3/4 teaspoon salt
                                    * 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                                    * 1 cup diced (1/4-inch) onion
                                    * 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
                                    * 3 cups washed and diced (1/2-inch) baby bella or white mushrooms
                                    * 1/3 cup dry white wine
                                    * 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, for garnish

                                    Arrange the chicken thighs skin side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, trim off any excess skin at the edges and cut about 1/2 inch deep into the flesh on either side of the thigh bone. (This will help the meat cook more quickly.) Sprinkle the thighs with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and arrange them skin side down in one layer in a nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid.

                                    Place the skillet over high heat and when the thighs start sizzling reduce the heat to medium, cover tightly, and cook for 16 to 18 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken is browning properly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 degrees. If the chicken seems to be cooking too fast after 10 minutes or so, reduce the heat to low. The skin of the chicken should be very crisp and brown. Transfer the chicken skin side up to an ovenproof platter and place it in the oven.

                                    Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet in which you cooked the chicken. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté them over high heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on the mushrooms and then add the wine and any liquid that has accumulated around the thighs on the platter. Cook the sauce over high heat for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid.

                                    To serve, divide the sauce among four hot plates. Place a thigh in the middle of the mushroom sauce on each plate, spoon some sauce over, sprinkle on the chives, and serve

                                    1. If you got the time, try stuffing the thighs. I love using feta and spinach, or chopped mushrooms. I once ate a fancy preparation, where they added black truffle shaving and butter inside the thighs, wrapped up cling film, poached until cooked. Then browned it on the pan. Although it tasted really good, I never tried to do it myself. NIgella Lawson has many recipes with chicken thighs. I really like her chicken nugget recipe, which is baked and tastes awesome.

                                      1. We love chicken thighs. heres what we do: Put some lemon slices and sliced garlic under the skin. Olive oil, lemon juice, s/p on the skin. I cook up some rice, add spinach and some lemon juice, and put on the bottom of the pan. Plop the thighs on top and roast. So good and so easy.

                                        1. We recently made a recipe from America's Test Kitchen using chicken thighs that turned out great. It's a stove-top method for roasting chicken. The sauce was great too.

                                          Stovetop Roast Chicken with Lemon-Herb Sauce