Years ago I set out to conquer all of my great grandmother’s well-kept, many years perfected, sacred family recipes. Oh, what’s that you ask? The ones that my sister mistakenly threw away? Yes, those ones!
I never really remembered the specifics of her food, I just remember the general feeling of an overall deliciousness that would consume you with each bite. The kind of food that only a great-grandmother could create.
Fortunately, many of the recipes I was able to replicate. At least, to how I remember them in my mind. But for the longest time there were a few dishes that always seemed to be missing a little something. That umph to take it to the next level – from good to incredible.
And then one day, it hit me. Dark meat. She used dark meat in most of her dishes resulting in that unparalleled deep, rich flavor. It’s salty, it’s moist, it’s succulent…quite frankly, it doesn’t even compare to the – more commonly consumed – breast meat (and not to mention very cost-effective).
I’m not totally impartial — I do eat white meat as well, but when I want something that’s comforting and deep in flavor, I use the dark stuff.
(I know many of you are strictly breast eaters, so if you do substitute chicken breasts in this recipe, buy the chicken that is bone-in and with the skin on. You can remove the skin after it’s cooked, but that’s really where all of the juices and flavor is going to come from).
This also pairs great with a Roasted Pork Tenderloin or any other pork or poultry dish.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce
Cherry-Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce
- 2 jalapenos seeded and diced fine
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/3 cup cherry preserves
- 2 tbs worcestershire
- 1 tbs dark molasses
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper
In a large sauce pan sauté jalapenos and cherries in olive oil for about five minutes or until jalapeno begins to soften. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes longer until fragrant. Stir in chili powder and onion powder and cook for one minute.
Add the preserves, worcestershire, molasses and liquid smoke and stir to combine.
Lastly, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
Using a handheld blender (or transfer into a blender or food processor) blend the sauce, being very careful as the sauce is very hot! I like to leave small chunks in the sauce, but you can puree until smooth if desired. If the sauce is too thick add small amount of chicken stock to thin out.
Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Roasted Chicken Thighs
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Cherry-Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce
Preheat oven to 450°F.
(If you have a cast iron skillet you can use it for both steps. If you do not, sear the chicken in a skillet and then transfer to a baking dish to continue cooking in the oven.)
Pat chicken dry and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Skin-side down, add the chicken thighs to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is nice and brown. This is an important step to helping create the best flavor in your chicken. Flip chicken over (or transfer to oven-proof baking dish) and add the barbeque sauce, leaving about 1/3 cup aside.
Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with additional sauce