Mustard-Chutney Roasted Chicken Thighs
From Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals by Sara Moulton. Used by permission of Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc. © 2005 by Sara Moulton. All Rights Reserved
Makes 4 servings
When I was in my teens and on a perpetual diet, I was told that white-meat chicken is lower in calories than dark. That's true. But as a grown-up chef I know it's also true that dark meat is tenderer, juicier, cheaper, and more flavorful than the breast. (This is particularly true of the thighs, which do not have the tough sinews of the legs.)
Everyone will love this dish. You can omit the jalapeños of you're not feeding chile lovers.
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 thin slices (5 ounces) pancetta, coarsely chopped (use 4 to 5 thick slices of smoked bacon if pancetta is not available)
1/3 cup mango chutney (preferably Major Grey's), finely chopped
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeños
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 large bone-in chicken thighs, with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Combine the chutney, mustard, mayonnaise, jalapeños, and lime juice in a large bowl; add the thighs and toss until completely coated.
Combine the crumbs and oil on a plate; add the thighs, one at a time, and coat with crumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through and the crumbs are golden brown. Transfer the thighs to a platter and serve.
Sara has nailed the oven-fried chicken concept. Variations are a cinch. You need something creamy like the mayonnaise or sour cream, optional seasonings such as chopped fresh basil and rosemary, and then always coat each piece with the bread crumb-oil mixture. Most important, do not allow the pieces to touch on the baking sheet or they will not crisp. Nor should you put them in a deep pan; you need heat surrounding each piece.
THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE
A nice touch for holiday dinner parties is small plates of candied ginger within reach of everyone at the table. This is what you nibble at the end of the meal to help digestion.
In Holland, nubs of ginger in syrup are served before dessert along with pieces of aged Gouda cheese (I use aged cheddar when I can't find the Gouda). It's a good tradition to revive in these days of indulgence. You eat both the ginger and the cheese with knives and forks. You are going to love the combination.