Jack Sprat might not eat fat, but I wonder how he would weigh on boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Unlike the rich, tight flesh of the drumstick or wing – which I doubt he would approve – the boneless, skinless thighs offer unbroken expanses of smooth, textured meat without challenge. While not as lean as chicken breasts, the thighs are almost as delicate and just as easy to eat with a knife and fork – without gnawing or fingers.
In our house, boneless thighs are a staple because everyone from my kid’s Jack Sprat to my fat and furry loving self can agree on their delight. They’re also friendly on weeknights, cooking faster than their bone-in counterparts. And, unlike boneless, picky breast meat, the thighs aren’t prone to drying out.
You can season boneless thighs with virtually any spice, herb or flavoring. Just be generous; their dark meat can take on a lot of flavor (and don’t skimp on the salt).
Here, I brushed them with a mixture of grated garlic, thyme – you can also use oregano – and red pepper flakes before roasting them. Feel free to spruce up, adding a pinch or two of your favorite spice, a pinch of a beloved condiment, more herbs; anything that you think tastes good probably will.
I also scattered lemon wedges in the roasting pan. As the lemons cook, darkening around the edges, their acids soften, becoming sweeter and sweeter. When squeezed onto the chicken just before serving, roasted lemon juices give a rounder, smoother bite compared to fresh citrus.
I wanted to tone down some of the intense lemon acidity, so I could add another bright and tangy element to the plate: a dollop of garlic and speckled cucumber yogurt.
Cucumber and yogurt are a classic marriage in many cultures, from Indian raita to Persian mast-o khiar to Greek tzatziki and beyond. For this iteration, it’s important to use strained yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, labneh, or Icelandic skyr. Grated cucumber inevitably releases liquid when it sits, so the thicker the yogurt to start with, the creamier and less liquid the final sauce will be.
Whole yogurt will give you the richest result. But low-fat or fat-free yogurt would also work perfectly – and maybe even better when Jack Sprat comes over to dinner.
Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Garlic Yogurt
And to drink …
What wine to drink with this tasty and tangy dish? What do you like? There are many options provided you follow the usual precautions: avoid woody or tannic wines. This is especially true as one or the other quality will conflict with the creamy yogurt sauce. As is often the case, crisp acidity will work wonders. My first choice could be a good dry riesling, whether it’s from Germany, Austria or Alsace. A chenin blanc from the Loire Valley would also be a good option, as would a godello from western Spain or an assyrtiko from Greece. The same caveats apply to reds: I would consider Loire Cabernet Francs as intended for early consumption. Likewise an Irouléguy from the French Basque Country, a Ribeira Sacra from Galicia in Spain or a cheap Bordeaux. ERIC ASIMOV