Chef Kristen Kish has won the hearts and palates of America, whether leading the kitchen in Boston or battling it out on Top Chef. Her unique style of cooking and relationship with innovative flavors has earned her accolades of all kinds, and her new cookbook is a testament to a hard-earned career. Just look at the way she spins a fried chicken thigh.
This frying-without-frying dish came about by mistake. I was roasting chicken thighs at home for my dinner and then…I forgot all about them! I left them in too long, but to my surprise, instead of being overcooked and dry, they were still so crispy and juicy that they almost reminded me of Korean fried chicken. I guess those little thighs are pretty damn resilient. The lemon juice here works so well with the honey. If you can’t find Calabrian chiles in a jar, you can substitute pepperoncini.
- 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 jarred Calabrian chile in oil, drained and finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
- kosher salt
- 1 cup labneh
- 1 tablespoon oil from jar of Calabrian chiles or olive oil
For the chicken
Preheat the oven to 420°F. In a bowl, toss together the chicken thighs, lemon zest, lemon juice, grapeseed oil, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Massage the chicken with your hands for a couple of minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature. Arrange the thighs on a sheet pan, leaving ample space in between them. Transfer to the hot oven and forget about them as I did — just kidding! Bake until the meat is cooked through, the chicken fat has rendered, and the skin is crisp, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the honey to a simmer and then allow the honey to lightly bubble for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chile, lemon juice, and butter. Season with salt. Using a pastry brush, brush the rested thighs thoroughly with this glaze.
I prefer to serve this family-style. Spread the labneh on a platter and drizzle the chile oil over it. Then simply pile the thighs on top and serve with leftover honey glaze on the side for those who want more sweetness and heat.