We eat a lot of chicken in this house. No surprise there. It's usually one of the cheapest meats to buy and it's pretty adaptable to all sorts of flavours and cooking styles. I used to only buy free range organic, but these days with a much tighter budget, I can no longer afford to be so fussy, and so I buy higher welfare chicken, which isn't the cheapest, but isn't the most expensive . . . and hopefully it is what it says on the label . . . and is actually higher welfare.
I cook a lot of breasts, but I do love thigh meat more. It is more succulent and has more flavour than the breast meat. It's lovely, skin on and bone in . . . roasted with nothing more than garlic, salt and pepper on it. , until the skin is crisp and crackling and the meat is juicy good. Finger licking good. You can't beat it in my opinion.
Today I opted for boneless skinless thighs. When you take the skin of a lean meat like chicken you have to protect it's juiciness somehow, and so I dredged them in a highly seasoned flour and lightly browned them in a skillet, until they were golden brown on both sides.
I popped them into a shallow casserole dish. I whisked together a jar of salsa (medium) with a heaped teaspoon of Chipotle Chili Paste, which gave the salsa a nice bit of heat and some smokiness. I divided that equally amongst the thighs, dolloping it on top. Then I got really naughty . . . I sprinkled the whole thing with cheese. Once baked the thighs were succulently tender (I love that in a thigh), nicely flavoured and spiced . . . and oozingly delicious with all of that melted gooey cheese on top. In short . . . it was a winner. I love it when that happens. Good food doesn't need to be complicated. It only has to taste good. Simples . . .
*Chipotle Baked Chicken Thighs*
Tender flavourful chicken in a spicy chipotle sauce, topped with cheese. Delicious!
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
70g of plain flour (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
oil for frying
1 jar of tomato salsa (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp chipotle chili paste (or less as desired)
4 ounces grated medium cheddar cheese or Jack cheese
Lime wedges and sour cream to serve (optional)
Whisk together the flour, garlic powder, black pepper and salt in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in this mixture, coating them on both sides. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken thighs, presentation
side down and brown them over medium high heat. Flip them over and brown them on the undersides. Place them into a shallow baking dish, in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.
Whisk together the tomato salsa and chili paste. Spoon this mixture over top of the chicken pieces, making sure each gets an equal amount. Cover the dish tightly with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes in the heated oven. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes longer, until the cheese has melted and the chicken juices run clear. Serve hot with or without lime wedges and sour cream. We like rice with this.