How can I transform my thighs?
Do you any of my fellow Hounds have any really tasty recipes for chicken thighs? Sure you do!
I love them when I roast a chicken (or when they are fried, which I’m not going to do); but, when I have a pack of them, neither my husband nor I seem to like anything I’ve done with them. There is something about the way they seem almost slimy. Yes, I know that is the much touted 'moistness' that is supposed to make them so much better than breast meat, but it just doesn't feel right in the mouth. And then there is the way they taste like chicken. REALLY like chicken. Chicken that's dined all its life on chicken. Whatever I've made always tastes like a bunch of ingredients and CHICKEN THIGHS, not something to ooh and ahh over.
I need something that isn't overly complicated, with little or no garlic (unless it's powdered garlic). We are fairly adventurous when it comes to flavorings and different cooking styles, but I don't want to spend hours working on thighs. Mine or the chickens'.
Hopeless optimist that I am, I know for a fact that I have at least 2 packs buried in the freezer, and one of those may be the family-size type…YIKES...there's only two of us! And I'm pretty sure at least one is skinless. Rather than take my usual route of Yankee thrift by waiting until they are so badly freezer burned they are inedible and can safely be tossed, I am begging for help. HELP! (Please?)
Lots of people asking the same question. You can adjust the garlic in most recipes to suit your taste, but it sure does help to add flavor to many dishes.
A search will bring up many more ideas.
Thanks, Bear. I know there have been other threads that involve chicken thighs, directly or indirectly. Of those you mentioned, one started back in 2004 and the other not much later, and none were specifically based on not really LIKING chicken thighs to start with. Times change, cooking styles change. Lots of the posts were just mentions of a dish to use them in rather than a recipe; many were too involved, required marinade (which will make them even wetter, which isn't my goal), and only a few people mentioned not being fond of thighs. I didn't find more than a couple of real recipes that sounded like something workable for my request. It never hurts to put out a new request and generate some new comments. It's all good!
Oh, sorry MaineCook. I meant no criticism and should have chosen my words more carefully. I wasn't sure how familiar you are with the search function and was just trying to help direct you to other threads. I'm always up for new ideas and inspiration. That's what this board is all about!
My thighs get more problematic the more I read this board and cook!
Seriously, I recently made Bill Granger's Caramel Chicken and really liked it served with steamed white rice and some broccoli. You could sub garlic powder for the fresh, and skip the fish sauce (go easy if you use it. It can overpower.) I don't usually like sweet and savory dishes, but it works here.
I also really like boneless chicken thighs, cut in pieces, in chicken and sausage jambalaya. They may actually be more palatable to you if they're cut up in a casserole as opposed to whole.
Giada DiLaurentiis' Roman Chicken (I use thighs) and Mario Batali's Chicken Cacciatore are both tasty dishes.
The other thing I like to do is to take the bone out of a whole thigh but keep the skin on, and then stuff with jarred roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and feta and then brown so the skin gets crispy and finish them in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Now, about fitting into those skinny jeans...
Crockpot Chicken Chili
(my own concoction)
1.5-2lbs chicken thighs, cubed
1 medium to large onion, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cans black eyed peas- one drained and rinsed, the other mashed up, with liquid
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
1 7 oz. can of green chiles
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cup chicken broth
shredded cheese (optional)
1) Heat the olive oil and saute the chicken and onion until chicken is opaque and onion is translucent, but not browned (about 10 minutes)
2) Mix the chicken&onion and all other ingredients in the crockpot.
3) Cook for about 4-5 hours on low, or for 2 hours on low and 1 hour on high.
I made a vegetarian version of this subbing quartered mushrooms for the chicken thighs. It freezes really well.
Got a giggle from your subject line.
I think my favorite part of the chicken might be the thigh (or wings, different subject). I rarely buy chicken breasts and always buy the thighs when they are on sale.
My best method for cooking them has always been to brown them well, skin side down, and then add flavorings that I have on hand with a little liquid and finishing in the oven. Put the chicken on top of the veggies, herbs, wine, stock... put in the oven until it is done.
I eat them for lunch all the time. I prefer them "poached" in Chinese Master Stock, then sauced when warm- not slimy or so "fowl" flavored at all this way...and I totally know what you mean! This is a good method for leaving the skin on while cooking, then you can remove it before saucing if desired with really good results.
Just make a quick "cheater" Master Sauce with chicken stock, sherry, soy, garlic, onion, cinnamon stick, ginger a bit of sugar- whatever you have- then let it simmer to blend flavors. Drop the chicken in and cook for 10 or 15 minutes, turn it off and cover the pot for another 10 or 15 minutes until done. Do a bunch in batches while you have the pot simmering. Then sauce them with different dipping sauces of your choice- teriyaki, sweet and sour, Thai flavors, or just lemon/garlic/olive oil. They heat back up beautifully in the sauce and they are infused with flavor throughout (not so "fowl flavored").
Save the stock in the freezer until next time. Water it, add more stuff, and reuse. It is really very easy.
Thighs are my go-to for many Chinese dishes, especially noodle dishes. However, tonight is going to be shwarma. Too simple, if you already have packaged shwarma seasoning, but very easy to mix up your own. Brush chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with spices, let rest as long as you have time. Fire up the grill and either grill whole or skewer with onions as a kebab. Serve with pita, hummus, tehina, etc.
I think the strong chicken taste that you find is simply the nature of dark meat. It is much stronger. Though why you like them when they are attached to a roasted chicken and not solo is a bit of a mystery. I love them because they are moist and flavorful. Try a jerk recipe. Or use them to make stock then shred the meat to make chicken salad or chicken paprikash/chicken and dumplings.
My preference is for a very simple recipe with no garlic that produces delicious results.
Salt & pepper 4 - 6 thighs, then dredge them in flour. Heat a mixture of olive oil and butter in a saute pan, and brown the thighs at medium - medium-high heat until nicely brown on both sides. Add a half-cup of white wine and the juice of one lemon, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the pan. Let cook for 20 - 30 minutes until the thighs are fork-tender. Remove them to a plate and keep them warm. Reduce the pan juices slightly, whisking to get all the nice brown bits mixed in, then pour them over the chicken & serve.
I was going to recommend a ThighMaster (hey, it works!) but of course I read your post and got a good laugh from it, so thank you!!
I relate to the problems of which you speak. You've already gotten a grand lot of wonderful suggestions - I'm especially loving chicken under a brick - so my suggestion veers in a different direction. The thighs have a LOT of fat, generally, considering how chickens are being bred to be Gigantors. What I've done is poached them to get a really nice stock and then used the meat in a FAST cacciatore, chicken salad (in all honesty not my fave with dark meat, but it uses it, and if you mix in some poached breast meat it's much better), or any other dish that calls for already-cooked fowl: chicken tacos, chicken Tetrazzini, Asian Chicken salad. I could go on. You get the idea. You get virtually fat-free chicken and a gorgeous stock. (That WILL of course obviously require defatting.)
How can you transform your thighs? Exercise, those speed skaters look like Secretariat from behind. Just kidding. :-)
Remember that dark meat can be substituted for almost any white meat chicken recipe. You can debone them, cut them into pieces and use them for yakitori, chicken fried rice, chicken lo mein, chicken salad (several kinds), chicken pasta and even fajitas.
I sometimes buy a 10 pound bag of frozen leg quarters for 59 cents per pound. I freeze a few. I roast a few plus two extra for dinner. I debone the extras and freeze them. I debone the rest (of the raw leg quarters), cut them into pieces and freeze them in 1 pound bags.
I use the bones and scraps for all of the above for stock.
re: Hank Hanover
Thanks, Hank Hanover, but my problem is that our taste buds can ferret out dark meat when substituted for white. Kind of like I posted on another thread where I said my mother would attempt to sneak raw egg yolk into foods she fed me when I was sick thinking it would make me better and stronger. I could always tell, even if the color was hidden. I hate runny egg yolks -- mixed with other food or not -- and I think that both the yolk and the dark meat have a similar chickeny thing that rubs me wrong. Funny, because I adore the liver, heart and gizzard. Talk about chickeny!
I'd kill myself if I tried speed skating...but then my thighs wouldn't be an issue anymore. :)
I'm sorry. I thought you wanted ways to cook chicken thighs which are dark meat.
If you don't like dark meat, give them away to someone who enjoys them.
Life is way too short to eat something you don't like. I vehemently disagree with people that try to acquire a taste for something. The only reason someone should do that is in a survival situation and hunger goes a long way in that situation.
Please don't misinterpret me. I'm not miffed or angry in any way.
re: Hank Hanover
I don't totally DISlike them, I just find them less appealing texturally when they aren't part of a whole roasted bird or fried. And I do know they are dark meat. I love turkey dark meat because it isn't slippery, but I don't buy them because they aren't readily available where I live.
I am just trying to get some easy to do recipes that might help me prepare them in a way that we will like.
I really think thighs (with bone and skin) are perfect for this recipe for oven-fried chicken. Well, at least the top of the thighs turns out perfectly. The bottoms can be a little soggy. I wonder if turning them half way through baking would help. There are some good tips in the comments. The butter drizzle is not entirely necessary IMO - although I cannot deny it is tasty :) You could spray with PAM instead.
I love thighs in this, but I love thighs in general. Have never done the butter drizzle and always bake on a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Crispy all around and deeeeeelish. (Not as crunchy as I'd like with the called-for breadcrumbs, I've got panko and some corn flakes stashed away for my next try.)
Tired of my usual thigh recipes, I recently tried this one and it was great. Never thought to put rosemary, yogurt and sriracha together, but it works great. The marinade spices up the thighs and tenderizes the meat. I've made it with skin on/bone-in and skinless/boneless thighs and it was good both ways. http://www.alldayidreamaboutfood.com/...
I buy skinless, boneless thighs all the time and use them in place of breasts. However, I agree that they can be a little "slimy" if not cooked to WELL done (the only meat I like well done). So, generally speaking, I cook them separately from other ingredients, and I cook them far longer than they need to actually be done. Because the meat is naturally moister/fattier, they don't get dry, but are instead crisp on the outside and still juicy internally.
My two preferred cooking methods are grilled (whole) or shallow-fried (cut into pieces). I will grill them whole and just serve them, but I also use the grilled ones (cut into appropriately sized pieces) for anything that goes well with a hint of smoky char, such as chicken chili or other stews, etc. They also make great kebabs. If I want to use them in a stirfry or something of that nature, I'll cube them and shallow fry them first (with or without coating), then toss into the completed dish at the last minute. It can actually be a time saver, since you can cook the meat simultaneously with the other ingredients this way, and just throw it all together at the last second.
Bone-in thighs are a bit more problematic but I tend to favor the oven roasting method that others have recommended - the crispy skin is key. DH and I also really love this recipe: http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/palma/20... (the original is for rabbit but chicken thighs make a fine substitute).
Bone 'em. I't's not hard, and pretty much self-explanatory. Pretty soon, you'll be able to do a pkg full in no time. Then
- marinate & grill them (outdoors or grill pan)
- pound them flat, grill them plain or treat like scallopine
- pound, roll, brown, roast. We roll them with ham, sage & cheese for saltimbocca
I used meat from the thighs left over from a roasted chicken the other evening to make chicken pot pie the other evening (cheated on the crust and used refrigerated Pillsbury product). Let me know if you'd like the recipe.
I'm surprised this suggestion hasn't come up more often in this thread. Thighs are my go-to chicken part for homemade stock. Thighs are far too difficult for me to bone out. As an example, last week I took a package of four bone-in thighs to deep-fry the meat for General Tso's as a test. Out of a total weight of 1 lb. 11 oz., I was left with just 13 oz. of usable meat by the time the skin, bones, tendons, sinew, etc. was removed. That was a loss of just over 50% by weight.
At one of my local stores, rear quarters with the thigh and drumstick attached are on sale again this week for half the price of drumsticks or thighs alone. I'll just disassemble them, roast up the drumsticks I don't need for the stock as snacks, and it'll be nearly like getting the thighs for free.
As always, somebody beat me to it. In this case mamachef. Be that as it may...
Chicken thighs are perfectly sized for individual portions. And my highest and best use is as stuffing pockets.
Cut the connecting tendons at each end and push the bone out. Now we get to the recipes.
Remove skin. Season thighs inside and out with salt and white pepper. Use a semi-hard cheese of choice. Swiss, grueyer, and aged gouda have worked well. Cut to size of removed bone and wrap in thin sliced boiled or dry ham. Insert into the thigh and tie off the ends. Poach in white wine till juices are clear. Firm them up under the broiler until just starting to color. Plate with egg noodles and seasonal green veggie. Use poaching liquid to make a white sauce. If you want to guild the lily, and I usually do, add some leftover cheese.
Next we do a little jerk. Season inside and out with salt, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Keep the skin on. Since I doubt if you can get calaloo, take even quantities of spinach and kale. Chop rough and add salt, finely chopped onion, better yet green scallions, habanero pepper, turmeric, lots of allspice, pepper,and chopped ginger. Vinegar to moisten and stirfry or pan fry with scant oil or the chicken fat removed from the thigh. Let cool, add breadcrumbs or better yet a little mashed yellow yam to bind. Stuff and tie off. Grill skin side down first, do the other side, once more to finish on the skin. If you want to sauce, a little of the jerk in sour cream goes really well. Any roasted root veggie goes well.
Now Euro. Remove the skin. Season inside and out with salt, white pepper, and finely chopped parsley. Soften a stick of butter and combine with white pepper, salt, more fine parsley, and some chopped targon. Place on some plastic wrap and form into a log the diameter of the pocket. Freeze hard.
You have to have everything set up and ready to go. Fry oil should be at 350 degrees. Pans of seasoned flour, egg wash, and seasoned breadcrumbs with lots of parsley should be in order. Insert frozen butter, and tie the ends tight. Dredge, wash, and coat. Let rest for a couple of minutes. Immerse in fryer. Time it, take one out when they look done and check for doneness. Juices should be clear. I personally prefered parsleyed new potatoes with steamed asparagus, but this has always been a Spring treat for me. And putting gravy on this is like putting ketchup on a Chicago hot dog. Just not done. Serve a very dry white to cut the butter. Or the more traditonal shots of iced vodka. Double points for the name of the city it is named for.
My favorite crowd pleaser. Remove skin and bone. Slice lengthwise and pound to 1/4 inch. Marinade in coconut water overnight. Pick your wrapper. I prefer banana leaves, but they are free for me. Take tinfoil, and in this order : thin slice of tomato, thin slice of strong onion, one half chicken thigh, mild cooked tomatilla salsa, onion, tomato, salt and pepper, splash of sour orange juice, and seal. Bake until done. The traditional accompaniments are plantains and a sauce of chopped habanero peppers, salt, and sour orange juice.
Sorry about no exact measurements, but I have been doing these for so long, I go by the tastes of my guests, read less heat, and by experience. And I was served the last one from a roadside stand in the Yucatan in 1976. I asked them to make for me the salsa they use at home and she made the habanero and sour orange in front of me. A little stand along the road on the way to Tulum.
And some people queston how I could ever eat from roadside stands?
Hope these help.
I eat at roadside stands and taco trucks ALL THE TIME and have never one time gotten sick from anything whatsoever. My reasoning is that they wouldn't be in business, just like a restaurant, if they were filthy or turning out unsafe tainted food. I mean, for godsake, these people are in business, and it's not in their best interest to run a really bad show. I've not seen a dirty place - maybe not "Disneyland Clean" but then neither is my house or kitchen and I've never turned out anything tainted.
Your recipes sound delicious, especially the first and last ones, thank you for posting this.
That is an interesting concept. In the process of removing the bones, you would be creating a stuffing pocket.
What could you stuff it with? Dark meat is fairly fatty so you could stuff a jalapeno with cheese and then stick it in a thigh. Maybe some kind of concoction with prunes or dates? Maybe some kind of rice. Well, actually, there is your concoction...rice and chopped prunes.
I'll have to think on that a little.
So happy to read that others like thighs, too, and reading all of these suggestions have made me very hungry! I made a Chinese style dish the other night using fermented bean curd (doufuru), and the creamy, cheesy sauce went perfectly with boneless thighs. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and is perfect with just some rice and a vegetable. http://carolynjphillips.blogspot.com/...
"Chicken that's dined all its life on chicken" -- brilliant.
dug up a few links that i thought might work for you:
and for the record, when i read the title of your post i was inclined to suggest squats, lunges & yoga ;)
There is a recipe i tried in cooks country magazine. The magazine was called lost recipies. The recipie was called oh my god chicken because when people ate it they said oh my god this is fantastic
I love chicken thighs. The way I cook them anyways, extra well done to render out the fat and slippery bits. They are very easy to bone out, I'm going to have to try the "pushing the bone out" method with a couple of hens I'm planning to slaughter this weekend.
In the past I've boned them by cutting down through the inside length of the thigh and ultimately dividing into three parts. Makes a very good Buffalo chicken thigh, fried or baked crispy and then coated in the sauce.
A VERY old recipe I came up with back in the early '90's, that I resarected last year, and find I like even better now.... and only use on Chix thighs. Can be bone in or boneless, but you might find you and your hubby get less of that 'chicken-y taste with boneless; some people find a factory raised standard chicken thigh to have kind of a minerally, off taste near the bone that can be helped by cooking boneless. Also, check for bloody veins near where the bone came out.
On to my Ginger-Orange Chicken; easily double the recipe...
4-6 thighs, bone in or boneless, (better results to cook skin on)
1/2 can orange juice concentrate (fresh juice is not a good substitute)
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1-2 tbsp. grated or minced fresh ginger, depending on taste (I love it strong!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 fat green onions, white and part of green, sliced
2 Tbsp. honey.
a pinch hot pepper flakes, or a few grinds of fresh ground pepper
Put all the marinade ingredients into a gallon ziplock freezer bag. Massage together for a minute to disolve the honey and mix all ingredients together. Add the chicken.
Close the bag most of the way, then squeeze out the air through the smaller opening in the top. finish sealing the bag. Removing the air allows all of the chicken to be covered in marinade at all times. A great trick we use for steak, fish, chix, etc.
Refridgerate at least 4 hours, or up to overnight (tho I find you can't taste 'chicken' at all at this point, but may be just what your looking for OP!).
Take the bag out of the fridge an hour before you want to cook, if possible. Chicken cooks faster and more evenly when not started from cold.
Preheat oven to 375
Remove chicken from ziplock, draining well, but no need to wipe dry - in fact, don't!. Place chicken in a shallow baking pan, oiled, or up on a rack if you prefer. I like to cook it in the bottom, so sauce sticks to bottom of chicken at end of cooking.
Reserve 3/4 cup marinade.
Cook chicken skin side down for 15 minutes. Baste once, turn over, baste again, and return to oven for 15-20 minutes, until skin is crispy, getting a little charred and crispy, and chicken tests done when an istant thermometer reads 165 (stay away from that bone if in there!).
Meanwhile, make some rice with a little chopped ginger and green onion sauteed in the pot before adding water and rice. Kick it up a notch, and make coconut rice - even better.
Simmer the reserved marinade on low for 5-7 minutes to cook out raw proteins and reduce to a glaze. Keep heat moderate and stir near the end so it doesn't burn.
Serve chicken with rice and glaze. Yum!
We make the Asian braised chicken thighs from the All About Braising book. Which I like very much.
Sometimes the skin is glazed and crispy after that. But sometimes it isn't and I don't like it that way. In that case, we put it under the broiler for a few minutes until the skin gets crispy and nice. That idea is from the Thomas Keller book.
OOOOOOOooooh must try. I do something like that with boneless skinless chicken breast: filling it with an apple/walnut stuffing, and glazing it with a cider glaze while it bakes.. I serve it with a gravy boat of the glaze as well, with broccoli puree, green salad and pilaf and it's a huge hit every last time.
Recently I've been cooking them confit style. I use bone in skin on thighs or leg quarters. Simple as can be. I salt & pepper them, sprinkle some dried thyme, onion & garlic powder, then poach them slowly in the oven (225 degrees F or less) in pork fat (or duck or chicken fat or a combination of all three) in a covered casserole for several hours. I like to served over braised cabbage & onions (using some of the pork/duck fat). Succulent & inexpensive!
I was really thrilled with a Nigella Lawson recipe I adapted this week. This is my version ...
4 large skinless bone-in chicken thighs
1 large leek, chopped
1 celery heart, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 whole cloves garlic
1/2 c pearled barley
several t Dijon mustard
1 t each thyme, kosher salt
grinding of pepper
couple bay leaves
5 cups cold water to cover
Bring to boil; simmer 40 min. (I started the chicken, barley, and garlic over the fire and left the pot open as I chopped and added the veggies as I usually do.)
Remove meat from the bone and replace, smash the garlic cloves, correct the seasoning, and serve. Quite delicious.
Sometimes I slice them up raw, stir fry and then stir in butter and Frank's hot sauce for a quick Buffalo flavored meal. I serve it with white rice and a big salad. I also mix the bleu cheese dressing about 2:1 with plain strained yogurt.
hey, i do a conditioning video by jillian michaels then run for 20 minutes afterwards 5 days a week. your thighs will be perfect after 30 days...ok, enough with the bad joke but great title.
i have to disagree with people who suggest sautéing the thighs. while their recipes may yield delicious chicken dishes you have to really like thigh meat to enjoy sauté. i personally am in the same camp as you. i only enjoy dark meat when it's deep fried or baked from a whole chicken. sautés don't seem to breakdown the protein enough so it'll maintain all the qualities of dark meat you say you dislike, the slimy gaminess. so you'll need to cook the crap out of it. you have several options. you can as suggested make it into a chili or a stew as others have suggested. love the green chili recipe. it needs strong flavors to compliment the gaminess (or mask it in our case hehe).
i know you don't want to fry but i do like them as tatsutaage or japanese fried chicken. however, you can take the marinated meat and grill them too. marinate them with soy, mirin, sugar, ginger and garlic. you can sub the fresh garlic for powdered and it's just fine. you can even put orange or pineapple juice in the marinade (if you choose pineapple dot let the chicken sit overnight just a few hour will do) let it sit for at least half a day or even overnight. and grill, fry dusted with just cornstarch.
i also baking them in the oven with salt for a very long time. you can put a honey and shoyu marinade towards the end of the baking.
I never used to like chicken thighs either. But my SO has been making more things with them and I've started to like them now. He makes those asian thighes from the All About Braising book and lately some cassoulet with white beans. He's also using them in a kind of a gumbo with the thighes and sausage and other things. He also made a version of chicken adobo that also had short ribs.
So I think I've gradually started to like the dark meat, especially when it's mixed with all these other good things and not just on its own. And I agree 100% about not liking the slimy skins. Which is why putting the asian thighs under the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking does the trick if it's needed.
And the ideas of making stocks is fantastic too.