We've all got it. That ever-present need to do something different with chicken.
If you're a little weary on the usual grilled chicken breast or boneless chicken tenders, reach instead for chicken thigh meat. And for a real 180, how about chicken on the sweet side instead of just savory? Chicken thighs are a great choice for baking because, as the dark meat of the chicken, they're more moist and tasty since they have a higher fat content than chicken breast. The good fat is in the meat itself, the less desirable fat is in the skin. Essentially, they cook in their own juices, reducing the need to add oil for cooking. The good fat makes them less likely to dry out. Additionally they're higher in protein and minerals than chicken breast (who knew that one?) plus, as a budget saver, they're generally priced much lower per pound than chicken breast.
If it's been a while since you've baked chicken thighs, try this easy-to-prep, easy-to-bake Steen's recipe for Sweet Cabernet Chicken. It starts with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. It yields the most delicious gravy!
Steen's Sweet Cabernet Chicken
12 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on · 3 tsp Creole seasoning · 3 Tbsp vegetable oil · 1 ½ cup diced seasoning vegetable blend · 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine · 2 cups chicken stock · ¾ cup Steen’s Cane Syrup · 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary · 2 tsp chopped fresh basil · 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme · 2 Tbsp chopped garlic · 1 Tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 oz water
Season chicken liberally with Creole seasoning. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375° F. Heat large skillet over medium high heat until the skillet is very hot. Put oil in the pan, then place chicken, skin side down. Brown for 5 minutes. Flip chicken over and brown the other side for another 5 minutes. Repeat until all thighs are browned. Place thighs in a roasting pan large enough to fit everything in one layer. Return the skillet to high heat. Add seasoning vegetables and saute' until softened. Add wine to the skillet, allowing the mixture to boil until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 5-8 minutes. Add chicken stock, syrup, herbs and garlic. Return mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour liquid mixture over the chicken. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and strain the liquid. Return the liquid to the skillet or a small saucepan. Make a gravy by adding the cornstarch and water mixture to the liquid, returning the liquid to a simmer, cooking until thickened. To serve, place the chicken on a plate and ladle on gravy.
If you're concerned with saturated fats, leave the skin on for baking and remove skin before serving.
Source for nutritional facts: https://www.livestrong.com/article/13731319-chicken-thigh-vs-breast/