If your relationship with chicken began with nuggets and stalled amid the supermarket's plastic-sealed trays of skinless/boneless breasts, we've got a bone to pick with you.
It's time to give bone-in chicken a chance, from the whole bird to the especially flavorful (and often less pricey) legs and thighs.
"The dark meat is the way poultry should really taste. It just evokes that beautiful flavor," says chef Hugh Acheson, who has several Georgia restaurants including Five and Ten and Empire State South.
Acheson, a cookbook author and Bravo "Top Chef" judge, understands the low-fat benefits of boneless, skinless chicken breast. "But everything in moderation. I want to equate my life to eating the most flavor I can, and flavor is really found in the dark meat.
"I have a family of four," he adds. "If I take four good chicken thighs and fry them or roast them in the oven really simply in a cast-iron pan and serve it with a bunch of sides, that's enough protein for us. . That small amount of beautiful dark meat protein is definitely going to be a good meal."
And you'll often find bone-in thighs and legs are juicier than way-too-dry white meat.
Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Mint and Soy
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons each: Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup each, minced: fresh mint, fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3½ to 4 pounds chicken thighs and legs (about 6 medium pieces)
Prepare charcoal or gas grill that will give you medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes cooking time. If you use charcoal, be sure coals are very gray and cooked down to help prevent flare-ups during cooking.
Mix oil, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, zest, pepper flakes, mint and parsley in a small bowl. Very lightly salt chicken thighs and legs. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. Cook, about 8 minutes. Turn pieces skin side up; continue grilling. Divide herb sauce in half, placing portions in separate bowls. Baste tops of chicken with half the herb sauce; reserve remainder for serving. (Don't cross contaminate the bowls of sauce.) Continue grilling until internal temperature registers 165 degrees.
Transfer cooked birds to a serving platter; drizzle with reserved herb sauce.
Note: Adapted from Hugh Acheson's book, "A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen" (Clarkson Potter, $35).
Per serving: 490 calories, 37g fat, 8g saturated fat, 209mg cholesterol, 3g carbohydrates, 36g protein, 1,293mg sodium, no fiber.