You might think I am exaggerating. Doesn't everyone buy chicken breasts at least sometimes? To tell you the truth, I can't remember last time I bought them. I think it must have been at least 2 years ago. If I ever cook chicken, I roast it whole. But last summer, I've discovered grilled chicken legs. They are so good, that even I get a craving for them at times.
Since I am not a chicken guru, I really don't know if this recipe is more complicated than it needs to be. Is marinating chicken in yogurt really necessary? Would just brining it in salt water work? I have no idea, and since I cook chicken twice a year, I don't want to mess with it. All I know is that this recipe produces the juiciest, crispiest, and yummiest chicken ever.
Since the recipe used to live only in my head, I could never remember how long to cook this chicken. I usually marinate enough for 3 days and the first day I always screw it up. The second and third days are perfect. Well, I got tired of eating overcooked chicken, so I finally decided to write it down.
8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken legs (skin on, bone in)
(I tried it with both and I prefer just thighs)
2 cups plain yogurt
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 inches ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup cilantro or mint
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste (Please note that the original version of this post incorrectly called for 2 Tbsp of kosher salt. Thanks to Grace for testing this recipe and finding my mistake.)
1 Tbsp coriander
1 Tbsp cumin,
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp kosher salt (whether you need to add this depends on how salty your marinade was -- use your best judgment and skip if you are sensitive to salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Olive oil for grilling or broiling.
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Put chicken in a large zip-lock bag, pour in the marinade. Close the bag and refrigerate for 1-3 days.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and dry well on paper towels before cooking.
- Combine all the spice rub ingredients together and rub all over chicken.
- Coat the chicken with a thin layer of oil.
- Preheat the grill to medium. Brush with a wad of paper towel dunked in oil.
- Place the chicken on the grill skin side down, cover, and cook until browned, 5-6 minutes.
- Flip, and cook covered another 4-8 minutes or until done. See the note about doneness below.*
- Set the oven to broil and place the rack 4 inches from the broiler.
- Wrap a broiler pan in foil and place the chicken in the pan skin side up.
- Broil until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.
- Flip, and broil until browned on the other side, about 5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken again, so that it's skin side is up. Turn down the oven to 425F, remove the chicken from the broiler and finish cooking in the oven for 2-6 minutes or until done. See the note about doneness below.*
Is this more than you ever wanted to know about testing the chicken for doneness? What can I say, I am a bit obsessed with doneness (no, I guess I am VERY obsessed with doneness). Interesting ingredient combinations are nice and all, but to me, the whole art of cooking lies in using the right amount of salt, and removing things off the heat at just the right moment. I believe that every food is perfectly cooked for only about 30 seconds (unless it's a braise). If you missed those 30 seconds, you missed perfection.