I was looking for a different way to prepare chicken thighs the other day, and found myself clicking through Food Network’s site in search of some inspiration.
Lately I’ve been buying bone-in, skin on chicken thighs because I think they have the most flavor. But I happened to stumble across a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs on sale at the grocery store, and I couldn’t pass them up.
So, as I perused the Food Network site, one recipe that caught my eye was this one from Bobby Flay:
Smoked Ginger Chicken with Cardamom, Cloves and Cinnamon
I had most of those ingredients on hand, or at least the “feel + taste” of those flavors. Inspiration had arrived!
Here’s where the difference between our two recipes falls:
1. My soaked liquid included water, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, ground cardamom and crystallized ginger (I don’t typically keep fresh ginger on hand).
2. I used a grill pan rather than our charcoal grill. I love a good piece of grilled chicken, don’t get me wrong, but on this particular day it was raining so I had to be inside.
3. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole butterflied chicken (although I’m sure that would be tasty!).
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup water
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 pieces of crystallized ginger
- 1 teaspoon black whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head garlic, cloves removed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ⅛ cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add ½ cup water, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, peppercorns and cardamom to a small bowl and set aside to soak for 1 hour. Strain the water and keep it for the next step.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it's soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard seeds and continue cooking for 30 seconds longer. Add the ½ cup of reserved water, lime juice, salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking for 1 more minute, and then transfer the liquid to a blender.
- Blend the mixture on high until it's the consistency of a smooth paste (add more water if it's too thick). Let it cool completely.
- Pour the paste over the chicken thighs, coating them completely. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour, but up to 4 hours. Remove the chicken 30 minutes before you're ready to grill.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle it with a little olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper, then place them on the grill pan and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. (My chicken thighs were on the small side and flattened out in the pan. If you're using a larger chicken thigh, you may want to add 1-2 minutes per side to ensure they're done.)
- Remove the chicken from the grill pan and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.