by Anjali Prasertong
Until recently, I found the idea of grilling meat slightly terrifying. Maybe it's because I've never owned a grill of my own, or perhaps because of some ingrained sexism on my part that classified grilling in the category "things men cook."
I've set out to change this sad state of affairs, and I'm happy to report a series of successes -- including these sticky, savory chicken thighs. Glazed with an addictive mixture of apricot jam and miso paste simmered into a thick paste with vinegar and a little garlic, they are a foolproof win for first-time grillers or a tasty addition to the repertoire of veteran grill masters.
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a good choice for hesitant grillers because they cook quickly but don't dry out even if they are slightly overcooked. They are a happy middle ground for white meat lovers and the dark meat lovers who cook for them.
I got the idea for the glaze after spotting a picture of poached apricots and white miso paste on the blog Ideas in Food. A vision of chicken glazed with the salty-sweet mixture floated around in my head. Happily, the dish tasted as good on the plate as it did in my head, but I don't think the experimentation has to stop there. Other types of miso paste and stone fruit jam would be just as flavorful -- how about yellow miso paste with peach jam or red miso paste with plum jam?
The glaze would be just as good brushed onto other cuts of chicken, especially -- chicken breast lovers, look away! -- drumsticks, bone-in thighs or wings, cuts that let you gnaw on all the crispy, glazed bits sticking to the bone. It doesn't matter what you choose; what matters is doing a little grilling while the grilling is good.
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Apricot-Miso Glaze
Serves 4 to 6.
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and grated on a microplane (or crushed in a garlic press)
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Place the chicken thighs in a bowl. Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt. Mix to coat each piece and set aside in the refrigerator.
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. While it is heating, make the glaze in a small saucepan. Warm the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, and remove from heat.
Place the chicken thighs on the hot grill and let cook undisturbed until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip chicken and brush the tops with the warm glaze. Grill until browned on the second side. Flip, brush again with the glaze and grill for about one minute. Repeat two more times, so that each side has two coatings of glaze. Flip and grill for about one minute after the final glazing. Thighs should be slightly charred and cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
This glaze would work equally well on other chicken cuts, such as drumsticks, breasts and bone-in chicken thighs. Adjust the initial cooking time so that the chicken is almost cooked through before you brush on the glaze.
Other types of miso paste, stone fruit jam and vinegar would be just as tasty. A couple ideas: yellow miso paste plus peach jam plus sherry vinegar; red miso paste plus plum jam plus red wine vinegar.
Grilled Chicken Recipe, American Cuisine