Quick and Easy Barbecue Chicken
When winter comes around, I like to be reminded that spring is not far away, and then summer will be here. Sitting on the deck enjoying the rich, green forest all around us, Harris firing up the grill to cook something wonderful to eat, it makes me want to bring some of that feeling to a quick, inexpensive and savory meal. I love the idea of barbecue chicken, but I haven’t found a pit master who prepares it the way I want it. Often the meat is greasy and the skin is always a waste of a good ingredient. So this is my take on the subject—I know many of you will heartily disagree, so I hope you’ll find this recipe one you’ll enjoy for its own excellent qualities. Low and slow isn’t usually at the top of our must-do lists when making dinner. And the usual array of oven barbecue chicken recipes includes a gloppy, overly sweetened and processed sauce that you wouldn’t want to eat anyway. I wanted some tomato, a bit of smoky flavor, a background sweetness and a little heat. You’ll easily tweak it for your particular preferences. If there’s sauce left over, it’s great on grilled beef or pan-roasted pork.
The chicken is first cooked in a skillet to render out the fat on the skin side. Then it’s flipped over and nestled into the sauce to finish cooking on top of the stove. If you baste the top with the simmering sauce, it will soften the skin a bit, but it’s still quite fine. If you run the pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes, you can get back a bit of what’s lost in the steam, but it’s a fast and flavorful dish that will bring the promise of warmer times into your kitchen.
I found some yellow beets this week and thought they’d go nicely with the chicken and while the chicken is cooking, you can actually roast the beets and both will be done at the same time. The addition of some bright green sugar snap peas makes for a satisfying and welcome midweek meal.
Since the Grammys are coming up and the nominations have been announced, the playlist this week features some tunes you might not have checked out yet.
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice, hard cider or water
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or other vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar or honey
- 2 tbsp chili paste or gochujang, taste first for heat and use less or more as desired
- salt and papper to taste
Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet (not nonstick), place chicken skin side down and turn the burner to medium. You want the chicken skin to crisp gently to render out all the fat. If the chicken is cooking too quickly, turn the burner down. Do not move the chicken once it's placed in the pan. It will take about 15 minutes to cook the first side.
Meanwhile combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Taste and correct for flavor.
Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve the drippings in a small bowl for another recipe. It's delicious, don't waste it. Add the sauce ingredients and str until it starts to simmer. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up and cook for 15 minutes, regulating the heat as necessary to keep the sauce from burning. Baste the top of the chicken with sauce if you like, or if you want crispier skin, serve the sauce only on the side.
Remove chicken and plate. Place sauce in a bowl to serve on the side.
- 4 medium beets any color, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp butter ghee or olive oil
Place beets on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover pan with aluminum foil and seal, place pan in cold oven. Turn the oven to 425 degrees F. Roast for 30 minutes, turning pan around after 15 minutes. Beets should be tender and cooked through. Remove to a serving dish and top with butter and serve.