Curry casseroles: six ways with chicken thighs | Chicken
OWe may have once argued over breast meat at the Sunday roast, but these days we’re more likely to clash with forks for juicier, tastier thighs. From a purely pragmatic point of view, thighs lend themselves better to different cooking methods and – at around half the price of breasts – they are the most economical option, costing around $8.50 a kilo in supermarkets. .
To lock in moisture, always brine your chicken, says Will Tang of Korr Jee Chicken in Melbourne. This is the case of a whole bird or a single piece.
Tang’s basic recipe is one liter of water for 50 grams of salt, 30 grams of sugar, four bay leaves, four cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of black peppercorns. Leave your raw chicken in this brine in the fridge for up to four hours for the ultimate tender, juicy result.
Baked (with skin)
Supermarkets, mystifyingly, usually remove both skin and bones, so contact your butcher for anything that requires slower cooking.
“Chicken thighs with bone and skin are great for baking because you’ll get wonderful crispy skin and juicy dark meat,” says Kemal Barut of Melbourne’s Lezzet Anatolian Kitchen.
He brushes it with smoked paprika, cumin, black pepper and salt with a little oil, then cooks the thighs on a baking sheet in the oven at 180°C for about 20 to 25 minutes.
“If in doubt, use a cooking thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches between 73 and 75°C. Once cooked, let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Tamal Ray prepares a platter of made-and-forget chicken thighs with chickpeas in a tomato harissa sauce, while thighs and thighs go into Thomasina Miers’ baked chicken: a “richly spiced dish full of skin of crispy and fatty chicken, silky onions and golden roasted potatoes”.
Nigel Slater, meanwhile, uses his baked chicken thighs (skin on) as the base for creamy, lemony pasta.
The secret to a good fried chicken is its marinade. MasterChef UK winner Thomas Frake uses a classic combination of buttermilk or yogurt with spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper and oregano, then marinates his tenderized thigh fillets in the fridge for a few hours. Then he coats them twice in spiced flour and fry them.
Nigella Lawson adds smoked paprika, Dijon mustard and maple syrup to her marinade and serves her fried thigh on a hamburger bun with iceberg lettuce and garlic mayonnaise.
Thomasina Miers’ fried chicken comes in bite-sized and karaage-style. It’s wrapped in tortillas with sriracha-infused mayonnaise and crunchy radish salad.
If the idea of frying is a little daunting and you’ve already succumbed to the temptation of a small benchtop oven, try Food and Wine’s air-fried take on a classic buttermilk fried chicken.
Grilled or BBQ
Barut prefers the speed of boneless thighs for grilling or barbecuing, but be careful not to cook them too high or you risk losing their juiciness. He also suggests cooking skin side down to keep the juices contained.
“I like to add fresh thyme and lemon when cooking and brush with honey and vinegar to add extra zest,” he says.
Thomasina Miers uses Asian aromatics as the base of her marinade – leaving it overnight before grilling the chicken “until the juices run clear”.
Somer Sivrioglu chooses the thighs for its Turkish barbecue skewers, marinated in yoghurt and herbs. “Fat is important for taste,” he says.
Yottam Ottolenghi confesses that his Malaysian curry, cooked with skinless, boneless legs, is “not at all authentic” – it has, for example, the unusual addition of a few tablespoons of plum jam.
Lack of time ? Try Chetna Makan’s quick dahi murg (yoghurt chicken curry), which is a marinade and sauce all in one.
Or for more of a project manager, borrow a dish from Spice Girl Mel B and try her a classic Caribbean recipe: chicken curry with rice and peas. Although Jamaican curry powder can be a bit difficult to find in Australia, it is readily available online and in some specialty stores.
For a really simple stir-fry, Tang recommends the “Chinese Three Cup Method.”
“It’s a cup of soy sauce, a cup of sugar, and a cup of Shaoxing wine.” (Wine costs about $3.50 in supermarkets.) Tang brines his chicken first, then pats it dry and browns it in the wok before adding the vegetables of his choice and the liquid “three cups”, which then reduces it a little while cooking. .
Billy Law’s hard-hitting gong bao (or kung pao) chicken doubles up on its spiciness, with both chiles and tongue-tingling Szechuan pepper.
Meanwhile, chow mein may not be authentic, says Felicity Cloake, but this easy Chinese restaurant staple is a family favorite, and she says it’s “infinitely more delicious wok hot than in a lukewarm take-out box”.
In a casserole
Barut shares a recipe his mother used to make – “especially on weekends for a Sunday dinner.”
“She was so busy and getting ready for the week ahead. So it had to be quick and easy. »
Kemal Barut’s Chicken Casserole
100g of butter
50g vegetable oil
2 large brown onionsfinely chopped
3 cloves of garlicfinely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon of sumac
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
500g chicken thighs (skinless, boneless)
500ml chicken stock
2 cinnamon sticks
Over medium heat, melt the butter and oil and add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Sprinkle the onions with the spices and cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrant.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them among the onions in the pan, browning for one to two minutes on each side.
Pour the chicken broth over it, add the cinnamon sticks and reduce to low heat, covering the pan.
Cook for 30 minutes. A delicious way to serve this dish is with saffron, pistachio and fragrant rice with raisins.