23 June 2011

Double Take: Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs

Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Cheddar Cheese Grits and Spinach

Sometimes a recipe can be surprising. You look at the ingredients and think, “Meh.” While you are making it, you think, “Oh gosh, I hope Bender likes this. I'm beginning to think it might be too heavy on the mustard and rosemary for him. And he's not a fan of honey either. Oh, dear.” Then the kitchen gets smoky because you're using your grill pan and the hood is still broken (see NOTE below recipe). So you open the window in an effort to get rid of some of the smoke. In the process you knock the almost full bottle of olive oil into glass recycling bag. And that's when you realize the olive oil is still open. Annoyed with yourself for wasting all that olive oil and not wanting to think about the mess it created, you set the food on the table. And then you hear, “This chicken is really tasty,” from your picky-eater spouse. So you taste it. And boy, is he right! All is well again. Olive oil be darned.

Raw marinating chicken ain't all that pretty.

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 lemon* (optional)

Combine the garlic, oil, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt, and rosemary in a shallow dish or large ziploc bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Allow to marinate chilled for at least one hour or, up to 24 hours.

Prepare grill. Grill chicken thighs 5-7 minutes per side, or until an internal temperature of 165 has been reached. Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest 10 minutes, then top with the juice of 1/2 a lemon before serving.

* I completely forgot to squeeze the lemon over the chicken. While it probably would have been nice, we didn't miss it at all.

NOTE: If you are using an indoor grill pan that is prone to smoking, sear the meat on one side for 3-5 minutes or until you have lovely grill marks. Flip the chicken and put in a preheated (400F) oven to finish it off. 

This chicken is super easy and super tasty. I was very impressed with how well the flavors were balanced. The honey and mustard flavors dominated, and the rosemary was a welcome flavor, not overpowering at all. If you love rosemary, you might want to add another teaspoon to make it stand out a bit more.

I used a whole chicken, cut up and skinned, breasts removed from the bone. In the future, I wouldn't think twice about going the easy route and using boneless skinless breasts since I don't have access to boneless skinless thighs. If you can find thighs, go for that, but the boneless breasts were very good too.

Southern Living and Pink Parsley recommend serving the thighs over cheddar grits and sauteed garlic spinach. I didn't do that tonight, but I think the flavors would pair wonderfully. Southern Living even has the recipes for the spinach and grits if you'd like to check it out. EDIT: The next time I served this dish I put it along side cheddar cheese grits and fresh spinach. The spinach wilted very well under the hot chicken and paired beautifully with the grits!

I think the marinade would also be wonderful on pork tenderloin, and Southern Living gives you that option too! I have to say, when Southern Living gets a recipe right, they really get it right. Tabitha and I have just made a few too many duds from them for me to purchase the magazine.

Make-again: 2 votes!

Rosemary Grilled Chicken with green beans and crash hot potatoes.

To see Tabitha's take on Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs, head on over to Double the Garlic!


  1. Oh I loveeeeeed your lead up to this recipe! Sometimes I'm so like that.....I look at a combo of ingredients and think this is going to be a disaster and it turns out all right. I love you chicken!

  2. I have to admit I was skeptical when I saw the recipe originally came from Southern Living. It helped to know someone else had cooked it and liked it. Incidentally, I glanced back at out old Southern Living list and saw we had both picked a rosemary and garlic beef tenderloin recipe. I wonder how similar the two are?

    Yay for recipes that all 3 of us enjoy!

  3. @ Kitchen Butterfly: Thank you so much! I hope you like the recipe.

    @ Tabitha: The more I looked at the beef entry, the less interested I was in it. Kinda like this recipe. So who knows, maybe it's good?

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog!
    I think I wouldn't have handled the spilling of olive oil as well as you did :)
    I've always loved honey-mustard chicken, and the rosemary is a lovely flavour touch. I can imagine that this would also be yummy as a salad topping with arugula leaves, red onions and parmesan.


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