Jack Sprat may eat no fat, but I wonder how he’d weigh in on boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Unlike the rich, sinewy flesh of the drumstick or wing — of which I doubt he’d approve — boneless, skinless thighs provide unbroken expanses of smooth, texturally unchallenging meat. While not quite as lean as chicken breasts, thighs are nearly as delicate, and just as easy to eat with a knife and fork — no gnawing or fingers required.
In our house, boneless thighs are a staple because everyone, from my Jack Sprat of a child to my fat-and-gristle-loving self, can agree on their deliciousness. They’re also weeknight friendly, cooking more quickly than their bone-in counterparts. And, unlike persnickety boneless breast meat, thighs are not prone to drying out.
You can season boneless thighs with practically any spices, herbs and aromatics. Just be generous; their dark meat can take loads of flavor (and don’t stint on the salt).
Here, I slathered them with a mix of grated garlic, thyme — you could also use oregano — and red-pepper flakes before roasting. Feel free to embellish, throwing in a pinch or two of your favorite spice, a dash of a beloved condiment, more herbs; anything you think might taste good probably will.
I’ve also scattered some lemon wedges into the roasting pan. As the lemons cook, darkening at the edges, their acids mellow, becoming softer and sweeter. When squeezed over the chicken just before serving, the roasted lemons’ juices lend a more rounded, gentle bite compared with fresh citrus.
I wanted to mute some of the lemon’s intense sourness, so I could add another bright, tangy element to the plate: a dollop of garlicky, cucumber-flecked yogurt.
Cucumber and yogurt is a classic pairing across many cultures, from Indian raita to Persian mast-o khiar to Greek tzatziki and beyond. For this iteration, it’s important to use strained yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, labneh or Icelandic skyr. The grated cucumber inevitably releases liquid as it sits, so the thicker the yogurt is to start out with, the creamier and less runny the final sauce will be.
Full-fat yogurt will give you the richest result. But low-fat or nonfat yogurt would also work perfectly well — and perhaps even better when Jack Sprat comes to dine.
Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs With Garlicky Cucumber Yogurt
And to Drink …
Which wine to drink with this savory, tangy dish? What do you like? The options are many so long as you heed the usual cautions: Avoid oaky or tannic wines. That’s especially so as either quality will clash with the creamy yogurt sauce. As is often the case, lively acidity will do wonders. My first choice might be a good, dry riesling, whether from Germany, Austria or Alsace. A chenin blanc from the Loire Valley would also be a good option, as would a godello from western Spain or an assyrtiko from Greece. The same cautions hold true for reds: I’d consider cabernet francs from the Loire intended for early drinking. Likewise an Irouléguy from French Basque Country, a Ribeira Sacra from Galicia in Spain or even an inexpensive Bordeaux. ERIC ASIMOV
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