Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lemon-Saffron Broiled Chicken Thighs

Thighs served with saffron rice. So pretty, even without the forgotten lemon wedge garnish.

This recipe intrigued me since I still have that expensive-as-hell saffron left from the Tandoori Chicken I tried a while ago. After I read through the recipe and saw the grilling instructions (typical of Cooking Pleasures recipes), I thought to myself, "PASS. There's no way I can pull this off in the broiler."

When I considered the thigh surplus in the freezer and the saffron, which probably isn't getting better with age, the recipe went into the queue. Click the link below if you want to try it out on your bad-ass grill. Otherwise, read on to see how to do it in the broiler.

Lemon-Saffron Grilled Chicken Thighs

1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/4 c boiling water
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp pepper, divided
8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 tsp paprika
Lemon wedges

Steep saffron in water in liquid measuring cup for 15 minutes.

Stir in oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, marjoram and 1 teaspoon of the pepper.

Pour over chicken in resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade and place on a plate, allowing excess marinade to drain off; discard marinade.

Line broiler rack with aluminum foil, cut slits into it. Arrange thighs serving side up on rack.

Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1 teaspoon pepper and paprika. (I forgot to do this!!)

Broil for 9 minutes. Flip chicken and return to broiler for 9 minutes.

Flip chicken again and return to broiler for 8 minutes or until internal temperature is 170°F.

Garnish with lemon wedges if you remember.

Holy shit this chicken is so fuckin' good! The skin was crispy, the flesh was moist, the flavors were tantalizing. This is probably the best chicken I've ever had in my life. And I've had a lot of chicken. It will be impossible for us to deny ourselves of this pleasure in the future. During this meal, I decided to shop online for saffron so I can schedule regular deliveries of the stuff as we'll have this often.

Rodney suggested I provide a section on the blog called "Rodney's Picks" and to put this in it as this chicken is "the stuff of legend". Oh, and Rodney said if I chose to puree the chicken and rice in the blender, he'd drink it through a straw, it's that good.

All in all, a delightful recipe sure to achieve many smiles.

There are a couple things I'll try in the future. I'll remember the paprika and the rest of the pepper, I'll try using fresh lemon juice instead of ReaLemon juice; and when broiling, I'll do 9 minutes, 10-12 minutes and finish with 6 minutes. Switching the minutes up will probably yield a nicer even browning of the skin instead of some blackening.

Cost estimate:

  • saffron: $3 (SWAG)
  • thighs: ~$2.97, assuming 3 lbs cut from whole chickens priced at $0.99
  • lemon juice: $0.20 per quarter cup
  • lemon: $0.36
Total: $6.53 or about $2.20 for each of three servings.

Oh, hell yeah, it's inevitable. We're having this again.