This post is all about the wonders of chicken thighs! I’ve noticed that it’s easy for many a household to get into the “chicken breast rut” (which I have done). Because of this I feel many home cooks are missing out. Nowadays, chicken thighs in various forms seem to end up on my menu every week. There are a number of things that I love about this little cut of meat…
My affinity for chicken thighs started with a food budget, as they tend to run a much lower price-per-pound than chicken breasts. In my home, quality meat is really important. It has become general knowledge that meat from animals that have been given antibiotics and hormones is not so good for us. Maybe lesser known is that meat from animals that are free-range is higher in healthy fats like omega-3’s and 6’s, and has a higher vitamin and mineral content. Unfortunately, quality is often synonymous with pricey. Minimally, I try to purchase meats that are raised without antibiotics or hormones. Even better, I look for “free-range” cuts of meat, and at best I purchase meat at a local organic farm. But as aforementioned, I really do have a food budget, so I often embrace the less expensive cuts of meat – like chicken thighs!
Chicken thighs also tend to be more tender and succulent, especially when marinated and cooked on the bone. This makes them incredibly versatile and a winner with everyone in my family. I can get away with making chicken thighs every week (and even twice a week), because all I do is change the marinade and I’m not feeding my family redundant, boring meals.
Another reason I love chicken thighs is because they help with portion control. If I make a whole chicken breast and set it in front of myself, chances are I’ll want to eat the whole thing. If I make a chicken thigh, I’ll eat the whole thing but it’s a much smaller portion. Thus, I have to exercise less self-control. I also find the portion size of a chicken thigh is good for kids. If I put too much meat on my kid’s plate he’ll eat just that and not want to eat his vegetables. Plus, kids like feeling like adults when they’re given their own, whole chicken thigh, as opposed to pieces of meat pre-cut by Mom or Dad.
Finally, I love chicken thighs because they’re QUICK and EASY! Can you say weeknight meal? Literally, all you do is clean them, throw them in an oven-safe dish, marinate them, and then wait 20 minutes or so while they cook. If you’re a super-duper-planner-aheader, this recipe, along with a lot of chicken thigh recipes, is freezer-friendly. Simply make the marinade and divide your portions among freezer bags and freeze. The night before you’re planning on cooking your thighs, take them out of the freezer and thaw them in the fridge. They’ll be ready to pop in the oven after you get home from work or after a busy day of carting the kids around!
I know – I’ve spent too much time gushing over chicken thighs, but they really are great. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and maybe it will be a great addition to the recipe repertoire of some of the busy home cooks out there reading this blog!
Lemon Herb Crusted Chicken Thighs
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1/3 C lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dry thyme
- 1/2 tsp dry crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat your oven to 350º F. Rinse off your chicken thighs, remove the skins, and place them into an oven-safe dish. To remove the skin simply place your thumb between the meat and the skin and pull.
2. Mix all your ingredients in a bowl, evenly spread your marinade over your chicken thighs, and then cover your pan with foil.
3. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165º F. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.