Bold and Sassy Chicken Thighs

While you can control the intensity of the spice in Broiled Chicken Thighs with Chipotle Sauce, it is not a dish for the meek palette. Roasted red peppers and spicy, smoky ground chipotle chiles make this sauce a knockout. A fan of saucy, rather than dry dishes, I doubled all of the ingredients except the chicken and the olive oil in the sauce. In fact, I quadrupled the amount of garlic and chipotle chili!

Knowing our gas oven broiler is not the strongest, I opted to sear the thighs in a little olive oil over a medium-high burner on the stove top for several minutes on each side until browned. I then put all of them on a foil lined baking sheet in a 4oo degree oven for another 15 minutes. So now you have two choices: broil as indicated in the directions below, or sear and bake as mentioned above.

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground chipotle chile
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-3/4 lb.), trimmed
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 large or 2 small jarred roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

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I prefer to mash garlic and salt in a small mortar as opposed to using the side of a chef’s knife.

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Chicken thighs get happy in the seasoning mixture.

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The chipotle and red pepper sauce after it is puréed in a mini-blender.

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The chicken was seared on both sides for a few minutes before going into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

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A cooked thigh lies on top of a schmear of the chipotle sauce and is garnished with fresh cilantro.

Directions

  1. Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. of the cumin, the sugar, 1/4 tsp. of the chipotle, the cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 Tbs. of the oil, and then toss with the spice mixture.
  2. Arrange the chicken on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and broil until the chicken browns lightly on top, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue to broil until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the garlic and sprinkle it with 1/4 tsp. salt. Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, smear and mash the garlic and salt together to form a coarse paste. Transfer the garlic paste to a food processor and add the roasted red pepper, the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the remaining 1/2 tsp. each of cumin and chipotle, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Purée into a smooth sauce.
  4. Garnish the chicken with the cilantro and serve with the sauce.

Serve with roasted potatoes, egg noodles, or polenta.

by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking

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A cooked chicken thigh shown plated another way with a side of cheddar polenta.

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