“How about some thighs?” I ask. I am bright and smiling and polite and energetic. We are in the chicken aisle of the meat section.
“No. How long have you been married to me.” Same question. Same answer.
Compromise. Without it, most marriage would fail. I am a dark meat person and Suzi scowls at the very thought of a chicken thigh. The compromise is to get a whole bird and simply divide along white versus dark. Even I can do that, with a sharp enough knife.
But I do have my secrets. Sometimes I spend a few days alone in our upstate house. Just me and this lovely book from 1996, The Chicken Parts Cookbook by Charles Pierce. Charles has been a prolific author over the decades with a focus on American comfort food. He’s coauthored books with Sara Moulton for the Williams-Sonoma series and can only be described as distinguished.
And delicious. The chapters here organized by, what else, the parts:
- Whole Legs
- Plus: A Few Recipes for Liver Lovers
Each chapter itself has two parts: first Quick and Easy and then Simply Sophisticated. That means you are covered. Need something quick and easy, you can find it. Have some time to sip a glass of wine and stir: then sophistication awaits your table.
Why do I like thighs? Charles notes that thighs are a rich meat, destined to be paired with fresh or dried fruit, strong wine and pungent spices. His Quick and Easy solutions include:
Broiled Thighs with Sour Cream and Dill Sauce
Curried Thigh and Eggplant Sauce
Stir-Fried Chicken with Shrimp and Peanuts
Baked Thighs with Eggplant, Tomato, and Goat Cheese
Thigh Sauté with Beets, Walnuts and Blue Cheese
Chicken Thigh Hash
More time to spend? Then here are some sophisticated ideas:
Thighs with Pasta, Ham and Swiss Chard
Thighs Coq au Vin
Caribbean Plantain and Chicken Thigh Casserole
Sesame Baked Chicken Thighs with Drizzled Honey
Tuscan Stewed with White Bean and Olives
Those other chapters for the other parts have lovely ideas, too. Ideas like:
Breasts in Cognac and Cream
Breasts with Caramelized Onions and Glazed Carrots
Chilled Poached Breasts with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Lemon, Rosemary, and Roasted Garlic Drumsticks
Stove-Top Drumsticks with Lemon and Celery
Boned Drumsticks with Cornbread Stuffing
Maple-Brushed and Bacon-Wrapped Party Wings
Baked Wings with Dried Cherries, Orange and Scallions
Now, that’s a long list of recipes and I suspect I have your saliva has gone active. Sunday is Superbowl Sunday and I’m eyeing that last one: the baked wings with dried cherries, oranges, and scallions. This is an amazing and timeless book. There are 225 recipes here, so start stocking up on parts and enjoy some creative and flavor-filled recipes. You will not be saying, “Just like chicken.”