Aren't I naughty ;)?
I'm talking poultry today, because I had a revelation over the weekend.
The chicken breast: much maligned by foodies, the dieter's cut when boneless and skinless, the safe order in restaurants, etc.
The chicken thigh: much praised by foodies, the dieter's nightmare no matter what, the rarely seen option in restaurants unless you just see 'chicken' listed at your local cheap places.
I love chicken. But I always thought I loved the breasts way more than the thighs. Sure, they were slightly dry plain, but they were also predictably acceptable tasting steady protein sources whether you were at a Chinese, Indian, French, or Aghani restaurant. And when one is trying to CRON and have some semblance of a social life, being familiar with a good protein source/relatively low calorie item is a real plus.
And chicken breasts are not bad. Roast chicken breast will never be derided from this corner. But I fear my affections have indeed shifted to the dark side.
Now, to be fair to the thigh, I never did give it a chance before. The few times I cooked it when I was younger, I tried to cook it like a chicken breast and it just seemed too fatty and weirdly gristly. And while I love pork fat on a nice pork chop, I've never warmed to chicken fat on the bone.
But lately, I've come to appreciate the thigh. It's always cheaper than the breast, and has a deeper, more nuanced flavour. It is more reliably juicy. And calorie wise, the difference is not that significant at all (1.7 cal/g vs. 1.8 cal/g).
The trick with cooking a thigh at home, to my mind, is to realize you can be a little rougher with it. Breasts require attention so that they don't dry out. Thighs need less TLC and can still be delicious. I really like to braise skinless or skin on chicken thighs (depending on my audience) with canned tomatoes and big hunks of onion on the stove in a Dutch oven for 45 min-1 hour.
I keep trying to convince my friends to give the thigh a chance, but I think the bias against dark meat runs deep. On the other hand, why should I encourage them when their rejection just means there'll be more for me :)?