These chicken thighs were a way for me to use up some of the excess lemons that were in the fruit bowl. I think I kept forgetting that there were lemons in the house , and bought more each time I went to the store!
The lovely, hot, summer-like weather we are having has prompted a lot of growth in the herb garden, so some fresh picked herbs, as well as the chopped parsley I had in the fridge went into the marinade as well.
The beautiful weather has also encouraged the use of the BBQ and eating out on the patio. Potato salad, grilled red peppers and a yoghurt-cucumber and feta cheese sauce completed the meal.
The fresh herbs...chives, thyme, rosemary and oregano, along with the lemon and some fresh garlic.
Time to make the marinade.
Finely chop the herbs, the amount depends on what you have. I had about 1/3 of a cup altogether, including the chopped parsley that was in the fridge.
Peel and slice the garlic. I used 3 cloves.
Finely grate about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
Place everything into a bowl large enough to hold the chicken thighs. I had 9 thighs, boneless and skinless.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of the lemon that you zested
Add the chicken thighs, turning them to coat them all over.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours.
Cook the chicken thighs on a hot grill, turning often, until cooked through.
- If you have bone in chicken thighs allow extra time for cooking. They are denser than the boneless thighs, but the bone does help to keep the meat from drying out as well as adding flavour.
- Chicken breasts or whole chicken can also be used. Cut the whole chicken in half along either side of the back bone, removing the bone at the same time as creating a flatter piece of meat that will cook in less time. You can also cut along the breast bone and create 2 separate halves.
- If you are able to buy Cornish game hens, these are nice to use for a change from chicken. They are smaller (you can serve one per person), have a better meat to bone ratio and a more delicate taste. They are, however, pricier.
- If you are marinating bone in chicken, leave the meat in the marinade for longer, even overnight.
- The herbs give a nice brightness to the dish, and with the abundance of fresh herbs that are available in my garden, or in grocery stores, why not make use of them? The lemon zest also contributes to the lightness of the dish, which is perfect for summertime.
- The lemon can be changed to lime or orange if you like. Balsamic vinegar can be used instead of lemon juice.
- The chicken can be pan seared and then roasted to finish cooking.
- The yoghurt, cucumber and feta cheese was creamy and cool, a nice contrast. Use tzatziki if you have it. It also allowed me to use the last of the Greek yoghurt, and the last baby cucumber.
- Instead of serving it with salad and/or vegetables, serve the chicken thinly sliced on top of salad, risotto or pasta. Cut chicken breast into cubes and marinate, then put onto skewers. This would be nice served with warm flatbread such as pita or tortillas to wrap it in, along with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and tzatziki.
- If you are using fish, don't marinate it, but use the marinade to brush onto the fish while it grills (or bakes). Skewered jumbo scallops and prawns would be really nice with this marinade. When you skewer them, place them on a tray with the prawn wrapped around the scallop. Then slide the skewer through both. This presentation looks impressive, and everybody will have both prawns and scallops in equal amounts. Then grill them, basting with the marinade.
- Make extra chicken and freeze it. Use this next time you make something like Grilled Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Lasagne.