Updated: Jul 22, 2022
Quick and tasty chicken dishes
It took me a while to embrace chicken as a beloved food group, mostly because the chicken dishes I grew up with were relatively uninteresting. It was not until I moved to Europe in the late 1980s that I got hooked on roast chicken cooked on a rotisserie. This succulent dish, usually served with shoestring potato fries, elevated my appreciation for chicken as a regular option at home. While a good roast chicken cooked on the Big Green Egg is a favorite, we have taken to experimenting with different parts of the chicken as simple and quick weekday dinner options.
Chicken thighs in salsa verde
Chicken thighs have become a favorite, both on the grill (usually, on a cedar plank) as well as in the oven. A very easy recipe involves creating a salsa verde (green sauce) in a blender from spring onions, cilantro, white wine, garlic and serrano chili pepper, and adding this sauce to a skillet of chicken thighs that have been browned on both sides for 8 to 10 minutes. The skillet is then put in the oven (at 375 degrees) and the chicken thighs are braised until the skin is crispy, about 25 minutes. The thighs are served with a sprinkle of queso fresco and chopped spring onions.
Chicken steam roast
The moment I saw this recipe from Pakistan for a fragrant and spicy roast chicken leg, I knew it was destined to be a dinner staple in our household. After serving it once, my wife was in agreement that this dish was definitely a keeper. The chicken legs marinate in a tangy paste comprising Greek yogurt, spices (coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper), grated garlic and ginger and chopped green chili peppers (serrano or Thai) for at least two hours, or overnight.
The legs are then placed in a Dutch oven with a neutral oil and cooked over medium heat, covered, on the stove top for ten minutes. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking, covered, for 20 minutes more before turning the legs over and cooking, still covered, for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until most of the juices have evaporated and serve garnished with cilantro and red pepper flakes. Our accompaniment of choice was a cilantro lime rice and a crisp sauvignon blanc.
Wine-baked chicken legs with oregano
Another dead-easy weeknight dish is a wine-baked chicken leg with a rich sauce of cream and wine. The chicken legs are first oven-baked in wine, shallots and bay leaf at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. The chicken is then removed from the baking dish (keeping the oven at 300 degrees) and the juices reduced in a sauce pan after which the cream is added and further reduced down by a third.
While the chicken is warming in the oven, whisk butter into the sauce a pat at a time until blended. The sauce is then seasoned with salt and chopped oregano and poured over the chicken legs, with some whole oregano leaves to garnish the dish. We chose a broccoli rabe to accompany this dish and a lightly oaked chardonnay.