Random Thoughts Upon My Return
Amanda Hesser's Revueltos con Chorizo

Suvir Saran's Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs


I'm cutting straight to the punch today. This chicken recipe is delicious. Ben wouldn't stop talking about how good it was. The last time he was this enthusiastic was when Amanda Hesser's Lemon Chicken entered our lives, and we all know how good that was (don't we?).

It's simple (you process a bunch of spicy, aromatic ingredients and smear the paste onto raw chicken thighs, then roast them until they're juicy and fragrant, and a gorgeous little gravy has created itself at the bottom of the pan) and very tasty, makes for stellar leftovers, and is cheap, cheap, cheap, considering that chicken thighs cost less than practically everything else in the market.

(Can I stop here and ask what steps any of you contact lens-wearing jalapeno-eaters take when the time comes to deal with these things? I always end up having fiery fingers for at least a day or two, which makes contact insertion and removal nothing short of torturous, but I can't bring myself to use surgical gloves. Am I being foolish?)

I have a feeling we'll be making this again and again - it's just one of those staple recipes you can't help but revert to all of the time. But do you know what's even more exciting that discovering something as good as this hidden in a clipping about cooking with chicken thighs from none other than Mr. Minimalist? (The recipe comes from an Indian chef, Suvir Saran, whose restaurant is mere blocks from where I live and work, so it is a total mystery why I haven't gotten myself there yet. I'm stumped. And hungry. Consider this problem solved quite soon.)

Millet! That's what's so exciting. That fluffy, pale yellow pile of toothsome grains underneath the spicy chicken thigh is no pedestrian accompaniment, oh no. It's the glorious ancient grain, millet, my new favorite pantry stale. Move over, rice. Take a hike, couscous. We've fallen head over heels for millet, and think it's here to stay.

I used Nigella Lawson's recipe (but left out the cumin) and it turned out fantastically. The cooked millet was nutty and substantial, holding up well to the strongly-flavored chicken thighs. Plus, it had the added benefit of making us feel virtuous as we ate. I quite like that feeling.

This morning, I used up the remaining millet to make Mollie Katzen's Crunchy Millet Muffins and I'm pleased to tell you all that I seem to have finally found a muffin that doesn't make me feel like a larded animal after I've eaten one (is it just me? Don't muffins give you a stomach-ache, too?). They're very plain, spiced with just a fillip of cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar, but the millet goes into the simple batter raw, and the muffins bake up into soft, yet crunchy domes that go quite nicely with a glass of orange juice or a mug of milky tea.

Millet for breakfast, millet for lunch, millet for dinner. Millet! I think I love you.

Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs
Serves 4

8 chicken thighs, with skin, pierced all over with a small knife
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
Juice and zest of 1 whole lemon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds or ground coriander

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken thighs in a bowl. Mince garlic, ginger and pepper. Toss with all remaining ingredients or put in a small food processor, and grind to a paste. (It is O.K. if the coriander seeds are not fully pulverized. They will add a little crunch.)

2. Rub mixture thoroughly into chicken. At this point, you can cover, and refrigerate for up to a day.

3. Put thighs, skin side up, in a roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes or until done.