If you are a regular reader (bless you), you may have picked up on a bit of snobbery around the subject of chicken. It was only a few posts ago I voiced my borderline boredom with poultry. But this may be unfair, because I really do enjoy chicken quite regularly, I just don't care for the unimaginative white-bread preparations.
Alas, I did not get to the opening day of farmer's market last week (where freshly harvested birds were on offer) and was thus subject to using the boneless chicken thighs I had in the freezer.
First off, thighs and drumsticks are dark meat, which instantly lends a hand in the flavor category. Breast meat may be the most classic and prolific part of the bird, but I personally prefer the portions formally mentioned. If you purchase thighs already boned and skinned, they make a great canvas for stuffing. In keeping with using up extras, I removed the crust from half a stale sourdough boule for a simple stuffing. With some leftover broth in the fridge, and a prized block of blue cheese, a memorable chicken dinner was under way.
Stuffed Chicken Thighs: (amounts are approximate)
*4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
*2 cups crustless sourdough, finely cubed
*1/4 cup chicken broth
*2 Tablespoons butter, melted
*1 celery stalk including leaves, minced
*3 Tablespoons sweet onion, minced
*sea salt and pepper
*1/8 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
*2-3 Tablespoons high quality blue cheese, crumbled
*1/2 cup bread crumbs
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Coat with olive oil. Preheat oven to 375.
Rinse and pat dry chicken thighs. Arrange on a work surface and cover with a sheet of parchment of butcher paper. Using a meat mallet or alternative kitchen tool with adequate heft, pound thighs until tender and slightly thin being careful not to over do.
In a medium mixing bowl, add sourdough cubes, broth, butter, celery and onion. Season with sea salt and pepper. Mix in the parsley and blue cheese. Allow bread to soak up broth. Add more broth if needed to create a slightly damp mixture.
Working with one thigh at a time, place a small handful of stuffing in the center of each piece. Roll the thigh meat around stuffing and secure shut with a few toothpicks (as if stitching up a button hole). Repeat with remaining thighs. Gently coat each stuffed thigh with bread crumbs and transfer to baking sheet. Note: These do not need to look perfect, or be perfectly secured. It will all work itself out in the oven.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake on center rack of oven until fully cooked and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to rest before removing toothpicks and slicing each thigh into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle with any remaining chopped parsley.
Serve with seasonal greens and roasted sweet potatoes.