I’ve been really into cooking with bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks lately. They’re really inexpensive cuts of chicken and the bone and skin make it all the more flavorful and juicy. If I had any butchering skills at all, I would buy whole chickens and cut them up myself.
These would be even better if we had a grill, or braai as they’re called here in South Africa, but we don’t want to invest in any big pieces of equipment since we’re here for less than a year. I feel like I’m in my first ever apartment again sophomore year of college with the meager cooking and baking supplies I have here. Even though it’s usually just frustrating and adds a lot of time to my meal-making, it also makes me feel super resourceful and proud of myself. For example, we have one cookie sheet. When I need another, I wrap a cooling rack in foil and call it good. And it totally works.
When I’m bummed about it I just console myself by thinking of the KitchenAid, BBQ, cast iron skillet (it’s just so pretty- thanks future mother-in-law!), dutch oven, and more that are waiting for me in Portland… sitting sadly in a basement storage unit. It’s okay, Cape Town, you’re worth it.
This is a tasty, simple marinade. I didn’t know how nice coriander is before we moved to South Africa, where it’s a really commonly used herb.
The stars of this marinade are coriander, soy sauce or fish sauce (I prefer fish sauce but didn’t have any on hand), onion, garlic, lime juice and zest, and green chiles. Also salt, pepper, and olive oil, but those didn’t make it into the picture.
Cut everything up nice and chunky, and throw it in to a food processor. Blend away…
Until it’s thoroughly blended and pasty. Add chicken thighs and legs to a gallon sized Ziploc bag and add the marinade. Make sure all the chicken is thoroughly coated, even get it under the skin. Let it marinate for 30 minutes to 12 hours.
When it’s ready to go, preheat your grill or oven. I cannot wait to try these on the grill. Can. Not. Wait. The oven baked method was excellent, though. Line a cookie sheet with foil and a cooling rack. Start the thighs out skin side down.
About half way through the cooking process, flip everything. If you need to, broil the chicken at the end to make sure the skin gets crispy and golden. That’s the best part of skin on chicken.
The spicy avocado cream sauce was a last minute, snap decision because of random leftover things in my fridge that needed to be used. I love weird moments of inspiration that turn into kitchen miracles. Into my food processor went an avocado, sour cream, a squeeze of lime juice, salt, chili powder, and lots of cayenne pepper.
We had ours with basmati rice, but it would be great with some simple grilled veggies, too. Sweet potato fries would be awesome for balancing out the spicy and dipping into the sauce. I’m going to have to make this again soon.
Skip the sauce or replace the sour cream with homemade mayo, and you’ve got a paleo, Whole30 friendly, dairy free, and gluten free meal.
- 4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs and 4 bone in, skin on chicken legs
- ½ medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 green chiles, roughly chopped (deseed and only use 2 if you’re sensitive to heat!)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- Zest and juice of two limes
- ½ cup packed coriander
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 avocado, peeled and pit removed
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Add all ingredients for chicken except the chicken to a food processor. Blend until smooth and no chunks remain. Add the mixture to a gallon sized plastic bag with the chicken. Rub marinade into chicken, making sure to get it under the skin. Let marinate in fridge for 30 minutes to 12 hours.
- To bake in the oven: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with foil and top with a wire cooling rack. Arrange chicken on rack, thighs skin side down, and cook for 15 minutes in preheated oven. Flip all pieces of chicken, then return to oven for another 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- To grill: Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill for about eight minutes, flip the chicken, then grill for another eight, until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy.
- To make the sauce, add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Serve with rice and/or grilled veggies.