Sweet-tart white balsamic vinegar and tangy Peppadew peppers bring flavor and color to this weeknight chicken dish found on Milk Street. White balsamic, which is not cooked and aged as long as regular balsamic vinegar, has a mellow acidity that complements the peppadews, a variety of small, sweet peppers from South Africa.
Peppadews add slight heat and additional sweetness, as well as a vivid splash of red. Find them (or not) jarred at most grocery stores, and sometimes loose at the olive bar. Unable to locate peppadews, we substituted cherry peppers. And for some odd reason, there were no plain pitted green olives (no open olive bar during COVID) and all the jarred versions were pimento stuffed. Frustrating yes, but in the end… FRIGGIIN’ delicious!!
Packed with Flavor
Don’t rush rendering the fat from the skin on the chicken thighs. The skin should be golden brown and feel crisp. When reducing the sauce before serving, add water if the liquid is less than 1 cup. It took us extra time to get the sauce reduced to one cup, more like 6 minutes,
The sauce was just bursting with flavor and the chicken retained crispy exteriors and juicy interiors. Some serving suggestions are with roasted sweet potatoes—our choice—boiled baby red potatoes or spinach pasta tossed with butter and poppy seeds.
3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
¾ cup white balsamic vinegar
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup pitted green olives, chopped
4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon, divided
⅓ drained peppadew peppers, chopped
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until smoking. Add the chicken, skin down, and cook until fat is rendered and the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. (You will probably have to do this in two stages as you don’t want to crowd the pan and steam instead of crisp the skin.)
Transfer the chicken skin up to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Stir in the garlic and shallot and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 1 minute.
Add the vinegar and broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin up. Transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken reaches 175°F at the thickest part, or a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken, skin up, to a deep platter and return the skillet to the stovetop (handle will be hot) over medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup, 2 to 3 minutes (or longer if necessary).
Stir in the olives, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in half the tarragon, then spoon the sauce around the chicken.
Anytime is perfect to skewer around, don’t you agree? And when all it takes is a bit of prep and less than 30 minutes to cook, you will have plenty of extra time for anything else on your agenda, or just relax and enjoy a cool beverage.
Once again chicken is the star of the show. Specifically, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Each one is cut crosswise into three strips and added to the marinade, tossed and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. While they get happy, you can prepare whatever accompaniments you plan to serve. A prepackaged couscous and a zucchini-onion sauté completed our meal.
Grilled lemon halves, drizzled with honey and squeezed over the charred chicken skewers, adds a final note of sweet-tart acidity that helps balance all the bold, savory seasonings. Minced fresh cilantro, parsley or mint brings bright color and a herbal freshness to the dish. Use whichever you prefer, or any combination of the three.
The directions indicate to use metal skewers, but we were on vacation at a rental property in Cape Cod and all we had access to was wooden skewers, which we presoaked for an hour. They tend to run shorter in length than their metal counterparts, so it’s likely you’ll need more of them—in our case, 6 wooden skewers as opposed to 4 metal.
Keep in mind: Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that and the lemon juice and ginger will make it mushy.
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint
With a wand-style grater, use 1 lemon to grate 1 tablespoon of zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice.
In a large bowl, stir together the zest, juice, oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the honey.
Cut each chicken thigh crosswise into 3 strips. Add the chicken to the marinade, toss and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. For a charcoal grill, spread a large chimney three-quarters full of hot coals evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, set all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. If using gas, reduce the burners to medium-high just before adding the chicken.
Thread the chicken onto four 12-inch metal skewers, scrunching multiple pieces onto each skewer. (We used 6, presoaked wooden skewers.)
Cut the remaining 2 lemons in half. Grill the chicken and lemon halves (cut side down) until the chicken is well charred all over, 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the lemons once their cut sides are nicely charred.
Transfer the skewers and lemon halves to a platter. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey over the cut sides of the lemons.
Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon half over the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the remaining lemon halves on the side.