Here's the thing: chicken thighs are kind of weird looking when you're used to white meat chicken breasts. My first instinct here is to start talking about chicken thighs and how they are so much cheaper than the ever-popular breasts (even in organic form), but they have more fat, but they're more flavorful. And then I realize that is like the least interesting thing in the world. Truth.
It's good information to know, no doubt. And buying, cooking and eating chicken thighs might change your world, but goodness I know, most people don't want so sit around talking about raw meat.
Or maybe you do?
Maybe you didn't know any of that. Maybe you didn't know that you can get the same amount of chicken thighs for half the price of breasts. I paid $2.99/lb. for antibiotic-free chicken thighs at my local market.
The thighs do have more fat than chicken breasts, but if you can get past that, you'll realize that fat = flavor and that it's okay, it really is. You can cut off some of the skin or ask your butcher for skinless chicken thighs if you want less and they will still be twice as flavorful. And you know how when you overcook a chicken breast, even a little, it gets so dry and chewy? Well, that won't happen with the thigh. It will still remain tender and the crispy skin is so worth it.
So how's that for some chicken talk? I know you like it.
I paired this chicken thigh with a super easy and quick mustard pan sauce and a watercress and tangelo salad. Watercress is starting to come into season in warmer areas and is similar to arugula, but has a bit less bite and a more fresh and spring-y taste. Tangelos are pretty much a February fruit, but you will see them in the months surrounding. They have a really tender flesh and a hilarious knot on the top. This whole meal can come together in less than 30 minutes, which I find ideal.
Chicken Thighs with Mustard Pan Sauce
For the chicken and pan-sauce
2 antibiotic-free or organic boneless chicken thighs
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. unbleached all-purpose flour mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
pat of unsalted butter
kosher salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 475 F. Heat an oven-proof skillet (such as cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add about 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season chicken thighs liberally on both sides with kosher salt and pepper. When oil shimmers, add chicken thighs. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side (Remember: don't move until it lets go of the pan). Then, transfer the pan to the oven. Cook about 10 minutes.
While your chicken cooks, prepare salads and ingredients for mustard sauce.
Remove chicken from oven and set chicken on a plate to rest. Put pan back on medium heat. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of chicken broth (alternatively white wine if you like). Scrape up brown bits. Let reduce for 3 minutes or so. Add remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, flour & water mixture, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let thicken about 5 minutes. Pour over chicken and salad.
Watercress & Tangelo Salad
watercress (about 1 cup per person)
tangelos or other orange variety (1 per person), segmented or separated into wedges
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (you really should use extra virgin for salad dressing)
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp. tangelo juice (from membranes of a tangelo or a separate fruit)
kosher salt & pepper
Whisk dressing ingredients together or shake in a jar. This dressing mixture is enough for about 4 salads, maybe more. Personally, I made this dressing, loved it, but then opted to just use the pan sauce for my chicken and salad, so it's not necessary if you don't have time or don't want to make it.