Saturday, 24 February 2018

Garlic, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Chicken Thighs

Crispy, breaded chicken thighs is something that is requested fairly often in our house. Looking around I decided to use the open tub of Greek yoghurt, the fresh parsley and half  a lemon that were in the fridge. There were two large containers of breadcrumbs in the freezer, as I had just turned all of my saved bread ends into crumbs.

My first thoughts with the yoghurt were to make something like tzatziki, but as I had no cucumber that was out of the question. Using it as a marinade made sense, as it is great for tenderizing. The olive oil added richness, flavour and moisture and the garlic, surprisingly enough, was stronger in aroma than taste...I still wouldn't advise eating this if you are heading out afterwards!

When this was baked the kitchen smelled amazing...and the crisp, crunchy breadcrumbs gave way to moist, juicy chicken that had subtle garlic and olive oil flavours.

Make the marinade by combining:

3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Scrape the marinade over the chicken thighs, making sure that all surfaces of the chicken are well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours.

You will need:

8 skinless, boneless, chicken thighs

When it is time to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper to catch any drips. This makes cleanup a lot easier! Place a rack on top and set aside until needed.

To make the breading, place the following into a food processor:

2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Process until combined, and moist crumbs that are starting to stick together form.

Pour the crumb mixture onto a plate or tray, ready for breading the chicken.

Scrape any excess marinade off the chicken thighs, leaving a thin coating that will help the breadcrumbs stick.

Coat the chicken in the crumb mixture, pressing gently to help the crumbs stick.

Place onto the prepared baking sheet and rack.

Bake until the chicken is fully cooked and the crumbs are crisp, crunchy and golden.

This should take about an hour. If the crumbs are getting too dark, turn the oven temperature down to 350F - 357F after half an hour.

I served the chicken thighs with a spinach and romaine salad, that also had strawberries, toasted pumpkin seeds and goat cheese. The freshness of the salad was a nice contrast to the chicken, and this was a great middle of the week dinner.

  • For the marinade, buttermilk can be substituted for the yoghurt. They are both great for marinating and tenderizing. 
  • The chicken can be marinated overnight if you wish.
  • It seems like a lot of garlic, and you can use less if you wish to, but as I mentioned there was more of a garlic aroma during cooking than an overwhelming garlic flavour.
  • If you have a whole lemon, feel free to add some zest. My half lemon had been zested already, so I just used the juice.
  • Use the highest quality of olive oil that you can, as the flavour does come through.
  • The breadcrumbs I used were fresh, not dried or toasted. I save my bread ends in the freezer and when I have a large amount put them into the food processor, make breadcrumbs and then store them in the freezer.
  • Feel free to use any fresh herbs you have available...I had quite a bit of fresh parsley to use. Some choices to consider include chives, thyme, rosemary or oregano.
  • The granulated garlic I used is not the same as garlic powder. It has a consistency similar to salt. If you use garlic powder, use half the amount as it is more concentrated. I prefer not to use garlic salt, as I find it to be incredibly salty, but if that is all you have, use it and omit all salt from the marinade and crumbs.
  • The marinade and crumbs can be used on other meat...chicken breast, pork or lamb chops.

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