Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce

One of my friends has been teasing me about my fondness for chicken thighs!  I have several chicken thigh recipes to share and was initially trying to separate them with other posts… you know, to not get teased… 😉 Well, I decided to post them all consecutively instead- as a chicken thigh “festival” of sorts! 🙂 They are so versatile and tasty. Enjoy!

This quick and simple recipe results in super moist and tender chicken. The sauce provides the spiciness, so the heat level can easily be adjusted – or omitted (gasp!)- to taste.

We ate this delicious chicken with warm naan, Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf, as well as grilled peppers, tomatoes, and red onions on the side. This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine kebab recipe, contributed by Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of The Purple Pig in Chicago. Great!

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika (I used Hungarian)
  • 15 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (for kebabs cut each thigh into 3 pieces)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used fat free)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon slices or wedges, for serving, optional
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the paprika. Add the chicken and toss to coat; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, crushed red pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and mix well.
  4. Light a grill. For kebabs: Thread 3 pieces onto each of 8 skewers. (We grilled the thighs whole.)
  5. Oil the grate and grill the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the skewers to a serving platter and serve with the yogurt sauce and lemon wedges.

Note: The yogurt sauce can be refrigerated overnight.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Moroccan Chicken Brochettes with Garlic Sauce

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I am a total convert to chicken thighs- they really are the tastiest chicken meat and never dry out when cooked. This grilled chicken was tender, flavorful, and wonderful. Cutting the chicken into 2-inch pieces was the perfect size for cooking and eating. The garlic sauce was creamy and SUPER garlicky- amazing!! This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. We ate it on warm naan, smothered with sauce, with salad and our favorite Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf on the side. DELICIOUS!!

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 T plain Greek yogurt

For the Chicken:

  • 2-3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces (10 thighs)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • coarse salt
  • vegetable oil (for grilling)
  • Warm naan or pita bread
  • grilled grape tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
  • fresh mint leaves, for serving, optional
  • 8-inch bamboo or metal skewers

To Make the Garlic Sauce:

  1. Place the chopped garlic in a mortar; season with salt and pound to a very fine paste.
  2. Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl and gradually whisk in the oil.
  3. Very gradually whisk yogurt into garlic mixture until emulsified. (If it is added too fast the sauce will break. If it does break, gradually whisk in 1 tsp water just before serving.)

Note: Garlic sauce can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

To Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Toss chicken, garlic, parsley, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. (or up to 12 hours)
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate.
  3. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8-12 minutes. If grilling tomatoes, thread onto skewers and lightly oil. Grill until tender.
  4. Serve with garlic sauce, tomatoes, warm naan or pita, and garnish with mint, if desired.

Note: Chicken can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

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One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken

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This is one of my absolute favorite grilled chicken dishes. The chicken is so flavorful, moist, and has an amazing sauce to accompany it for serving. (We also spread the tasty sauce on our fresh corn!) We have served it to friends on multiple occasions- this time I doubled the recipe for 25 chicken thighs!! Everyone enjoyed it. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: 150 Recipes & Stories About the Food You Love by Melissa Clark.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 cup roasted salted cashew nuts
  • 6 -8 T chopped fresh cilantro, with some stems
  • 1/4 cup safflower of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges or slices for garnish
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded or not, to taste
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  1. In a food processor, combine the nuts, 4 T chopped cilantro, oil, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, jalapeño, and 2 T water. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Smear on enough cashew mixture to coat the pieces thoroughly, but don’t make it too thick or the sauce will fall off into your grill. Set aside any remaining mixture for serving.
  3. Let marinate at room temperature while you heat the grill- or refrigerate for up to 12 hours before cooking. (I try to marinate for 8 to 12 hours.)
  4. Preheat the grill. Grill the chicken, turning frequently, until it is crisp and golden on the outside and done on the inside.
  5. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 2-4 T cilantro and serve with lime wedges and the remaining cashew mixture.

One Year Ago:

Shish Taouk: Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs

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These kebabs were the focal point of an AMAZING meal. We ate the grilled kebab meat wrapped in warm naan, doused with tzatziki, sprinkled with red onion, with Turkish bulgur pilaf and green salad on the side. I felt like I was in our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant- only better! 🙂 I used naan because the pita bread served in our favorite restaurant is more similar to naan than store-bought pita. I also modified my gold-standard tzatziki recipe by thinly slicing the cucumber into rounds using a mandolin; my mother-in-law recently served tzatziki this way and not only was it delicious, the presentation was wonderful.

I had planned to try this dish ever since seeing a post about it on Savory and Sweet Food, but I had trouble finding sumac. I couldn’t believe my great fortune when sumac appeared in the “new item” section at Trader Joe’s! No wonder I am such a fan of their store. 🙂 This recipe was inspired by savoryandsweetfood.com, mamaslebanesekitchen.com, and saveur.com. I used a gas grill, chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, substituted fresh dill for half of the fresh mint, and modified the spice blend. DELICIOUS!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts), about 10 thighs
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 16 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 to 4 large sprigs of fresh dill
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 6 T non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • pita bread or naan, for serving
  • tzatziki, for serving
  • sliced or diced red onion, for serving, optional
  • lettuce, tomatoes, for serving, optional
  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes.
  2. In a food processor, make a paste of the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, spices, tomato paste, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt to the paste. Mix well. Taste for salt.
  4. In a glass bowl or baking dish, marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Then skewer the chicken on approximately eight 10-inch metal skewers.
  6. Grill over medium heat, turning, until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 10–12 minutes.
  7. To serve: Remove from skewer onto warm bread. Dress with tzatziki, sprinkle with red onions, shredded lettuce, and/or tomatoes as desired.

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One Year Ago:

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