While the boneless chicken is a rare (and fictional) bird, its meat is a versatile food that can masquerade as everything from a hot dog to a crustacean. The tender, juicy poultry can fly from the fire to the frying pan with panache. Whether you barbecue, broil, boil or bake them, boneless chicken thighs are flavorful while helping to keep your chicken legs from becoming thunder thighs.
The Thigh Who Loved Me
Boneless chicken thighs can be cooked as is, right out of the package. Place thighs in a single layer in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. For variations, try coating the meat prior to cooking with barbecue, teriyaki or sweet-and-sour sauce. Because thighs often come curled up in the package, unfold them before baking. You can cook thighs with the skin on, but for a lower-fat version, remove the skin before baking.
Woking the Bird
Because they are tender and juicy, boneless chicken-thigh meat works well in stir-fry dishes. Remove the skin and cut meat into bite-sized chunks. In a wok over high heat, heat oil, then add meat and your choice of vegetables. Cook for six to eight minutes, stirring frequently until the meat is cooked through. Prior to cooking, boneless chicken-thigh cubes can be tossed in seasoning or batter such as lemon pepper or a soy-sauce-and-cornstarch mixture.
Cooking boneless chicken thighs on the grill or barbecue produces lightly charred meat. Cook flattened thighs on a lightly greased grill over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes. If you are adding sauce, baste the meat toward the end of the cooking time. Alternately, cut meat into bite-size pieces and thread them onto a skewer before placing them on the grill. Baste with sauce for succulent yakitori or shish kebobs. Bite-size chicken meat takes less time to cook, about five to six minutes over medium heat.
Boneless chicken thighs can be transformed into a number of lookalikes. Pounded thin and breaded, the inexpensive meat can stand in for pricier veal in cutlets. Deep-fried chicken-thigh meat may taste similar to fish when bathed in cocktail sauce. When ground and added to a beef-based entree such as chili or meatloaf, boneless thigh meat can lower the fat content of the dish.
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When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.
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