The magic part of the chicken; its probably the fat content. Thighs are so easy to cook, just a little seasoning, let them slowly render, and, BAMM!!! Delicious, juicy cluck.
I like to plan my meals ahead of time. I’m starting with twelve, medium sized chicken thighs. I have a big Tupperware like container, made by Rubbermaid. Line the thighs in the container and pour course salt over. Be generous, unless you don’t like salt. This week I am using Alessi All Natural Sea Salt.
You can use about anything for marinade. Get some liquid to cover the chicken thighs, add seasoning and/or herbs. All you have to do is add time. I prefer overnight. The more hours, the more permeation of your ingredients.
I raided the fridge and came up with my marinade.
There was a quart of orange juice left from last weeks screwdriver fest. That in to the Rubbermaid container, trying not to wash the salt off the chicken. Then I spooned a bunch of chopped garlic on to each thigh. Remember, there is no such thing as too much garlic.
I found some Spice World Squeeze Ginger on the fridge rack. Every piece of chicken gets a dollop.
Of course there some unused herbs in the cooler. Rosemary left over from Sundays Chinook Salmon. My pal, Eric, put that recipe together. We are going to put that recipe on the blog at a later time. It has the OMG factor. Serious.
BTW, Eric is a bad ass bass player, of course.
Back to the rosemary: Rosemary has some serious stem action. I’m too lazy to de-stem the leaves. I break out my trusty Henckel Chopping Knife, cut the rosemary up stems and all.
Sprinkle all that chopped rosemary over the chicken thighs.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, you soon will. I like alcohol. I like wine with food. I like booze as a binder for sauces and basic foundations.
So I added a can of beer to the marinade. There is that extra touch of roundness, that a bit of je ne sais quo. It is an appealing quality my taste buds recognize.
Not all micro breweries in Washington State are great. I had a German Style Lager laying around in the beer fridge. No one wanted it so the chicken got it.
Here’s the deal. I have spent a life time around food and wine. Here are the components of successful cooking. Fat, salt, bitter, sour and sweet. There is a sixth flavor sense that is Japanese in origin. It’s called Kokumi. I ain’t going into that.
The idea is to affect a balance of those basic components. So the OJ has the sugar component, the bitter is in the herbs. The chicken skin has the fat component and the salt has the salt. Lucky me, there is a lime left over from Eric’s killer Chinook Salmon. Slice it in half and squeeze it in. Sour has been added.
I cover it, put the whole thing in the refrigerator and let the chicken sit over night.
The Beauty Of Life Experience
Life is about totality. That’s how I see it. I have been playing music longer than I have been cooking and pairing wine. I’m not a master chef, but I am a pretty good cook. I am not a master engineer, or producer, but I have a damn good ear.
What life has taught me, in this world where I am buried in my senses, is the ability to visualize. When I am creating a mix, I prefer a playback on my near field monitors at 60 DB. That is the decibel level of a normal conversation. When I mix my vocals, I look straight dead center between those speakers and I can actually see the vocals. The only time I can do that is when the entire mix is balanced.
When I see the vocals, that’s when I know I have hit the sweet spot.
about That Mac and Cheese
When a person owns a business that is a household name, one must have standards. I must admit it was never my intent to be a macaroni and cheese critic. I contacted Kraft Foods to ask permission to use their product name. They pretty much said, “Knock yourself out.” After all, who actually owns the name macaroni and cheese.
With that statement, I am the self appointed judge of said food group. My first victim is Home Chef Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, available at your local Kroger’s. It’s a basic microwave cooked product. Like the label says, 3 – 5 minutes. We had it with burgers off the grill and beer. I like beer.
Both my dining companion and I agreed – there wasn’t much to it. It couldn’t keep up with the burger and fell really flat. Kraft does a better job, except you have to prepare it.
The good thing about Home Chef Macaroni and Cheese – It’s the perfect after gig food. Get home at 3 am, half buzzed from after-the-show beverage and hooch. Voila! All that bland fat don’t taste so bad.
Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese gets my next searing discernment. I thought it was pretty OK. It was an accompaniment to one of my other chicken dishes. That chicken I marinated in a bottle of red wine. A Pinot Noir that was gifted me had gone through a second fermentation in the bottle. That’s sloppy wine making. It tasted like copper but worked great for marinating a chicken.
From all that wine, the skins of the chicken charred beautifully when grilled. Bob Evans Mac was able to hold up very well with the char. I was not unsatisfied. It is not bad for a microwave product.
My last critique? Kroger’s Buffalo Ranch Macaroni and Cheese. Look it, I am not a big fan of Kroger. They are huge supermarket conglomerate which is one of the worlds largest retailers. I have my opinions. With that said, they live right next door to me so they are kind of like my pantry. They also have a large selection of organic produce.
Buffalo Ranch Macaroni and Cheese qualifies as delicious. It’s loaded with real cheese, a little spicy and has the right texture. If you love macaroni and cheese, get it.
Let’s Grill Chicken!
I used my deck grill to prepare the chicken. It does take a little time to cook. I set the burners to low and placed the thighs on the grill. There was an entire sauce pan of marinade left. As the flames would rise from the dripping fat, I would extinguish those with the marinade. This created an aromatic steam which would envelop the chicken.
If you use a thermometer, safe temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees. I just eye it out. Cooking at low temperatures maintains tenderness and juiciness. Patience is always a virtue.
Dinner Time, Yea!
To accompany the chicken, sauteed mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli.
There you have it!
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