Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Assertive Citrus Chicken

I grew up to be a shy person, up until I went to college. No one would have called me assertive. It came as quite a revelation to me, when I finally shed my shy behaviors and blossomed, that being assertive could be fun. Understand, I'm still shy inside, I just don't behave that way. I suspect that there are a lot of people who do the same.

Ducks and geese are very assertive, but chickens seem to mostly be silly. Recently Sweetie and I took care of our neighbor's flock of chickens, all 30 strong, and had the devil of a time getting them to go into the hen house at night, not because they were being assertive but because they were being distracted by the goat who wanted to play with all of us. One of us would chase them toward the door and the other would try to keep the goat away and wave the chickens into the doorway at the same time. I'm sure it would have been a hit on YouTube if anyone had filmed it.

A good time for a chicken to be assertive is when it is cooked. In this recipe the fairly forward flavors of cilantro, garlic, scallions, citrus and soy join up in a marinade for chicken thighs that is full of zestiness but not heat. I served it with steamed rice and steamed broccoli. The marinade went pretty well with those, too. There is an Asian sensibility to the marinade that I really enjoyed. The flavorful crispy skin was a nice bite of luxury, too.

As with many recipes I made a few changes. For one thing it has been a warm day. Sweetie offered to grill the chicken, instead of broiling it, to keep the kitchen cooler. Had my vote! I also found that I only had half a lime, so I added extra orange juice and zest for plenty of citrusness. I used a sharp knife to cut strips of the citrus zest and let the food processor chop them up instead of zesting the skin.  The finished chicken was pretty salty, so next time I'll cut back on the salt some. I also marinated it for about 4 hours, but it was absolutely delicious (other than salty), so that is not a problem.

I think that this recipe could easily be doubled if you are going to have  a larger group than 4. With those assertive flavors, the piece we have left over will probably taste even better tomorrow.

Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs
from Bon Appetit magazine, Aug. 2013
"An aggressively seasoned marinade delivers big flavor"

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs with skin left on

Set aside 1/4 cup of the sliced scallions for garnish.
Pulse cilantro, garlic, zests, juices, soy sauce, oil and salt and remaining scallions (green onions)in a food processor or blender until a coarse puree forms. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade. Place the remaining marinade in a large reseal able plastic bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill at least 20 minutes. If chilling longer (up to 2 hours ahead), occasionally turn bag over to redistribute the marinade. Keep chilled.

Preheat broiler or prepare grill. Remove chicken from marinade and dispose of used marinade. To broil, place chicken, skin side down,  on a foil-lined broiler-proof baking sheet. Broil chicken until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over and continue to broil until cooked through. An instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees F. - 12 - 15 minutes longer. To cook on grill, place chicken pieces, skin side down on prepared grill and grill 5 minutes. Turn and grill until cooked through, about 12 - 15 minutes longer. Use same technique as above to test for doneness.
Serve chicken with reserved marinade and sprinkle on the scallions. Serves 4.

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