Sweet, savory and salty chicken dish
Chicken legs are a popular choice for midweek meals because they're one of your less-expensive meats and serve as a blank canvas for so many different cuisines and dishes — they can be deep-fried, barbecued, roasted and oven-fried to juicy perfection.
Here, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are soaked in an Asian-style marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar and lots of chopped garlic mixed with white miso, a fermented paste made from rice, barley and soybeans that adds a punch of umami.
Properly bathed, the chicken is then baked to a golden crisp, with an end result that delights with its perfect balance of sweet, savory and salty.
Be sure to marinate the chicken for at least an hour to allow the miso to do its job of tenderizing the meat.
For the multi-grain side salad, I used an "ancient grain" medley of amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. You can find miso in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores.
MISO-GARLIC SLASHED CHICKEN WITH QUINOA SALAD
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken quarters or thighs, trimmed
For quinoa salad
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 oranges
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted olives
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 4 cups baby arugula or baby spinach
Prepare chicken: In large bowl, whisk together miso, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger and garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut parallel slashes 1 inch apart in skin side of each chicken piece, cutting all the way to the bone. Add chicken to bowl, and rub marinate onto the chicken and into the slashes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with rack in middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set rack in the baking sheet. Mist rack with cooking spray.
Arrange chicken skin side up on the prepared rack and roast until well browned and the thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees, 20-25 minutes.
While chicken is cooking, prepare salad. In large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; set aside.
Using a sharp knife, slice a half-inch off the top and bottom of each orange. One at a time, stand oranges on cut end and cut from top to bottom following the curve of the fruit to remove peel and white pith. Cut oranges lengthwise into quarters, then thinly slice crosswise, reserving all juices.
Add orange slices and juices to dressing, along with onion and olives. Toss to combine, then add cooked quinoa and arugula and toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Using tongs, transfer cooked chicken a platter. Let rest for about 10 minutes, then serve with quinoa salad.
— "Milk Street Cook What You Have" by Christopher Kimball
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