If you like chicken but not the high prices breasts command or the paltry meat-to-bone ratio of wings and drumsticks, chicken thighs might be for you.
Chicken thighs are a very light dark meat (there is considerable argument that they’re a white meat) with a tender texture and savory and flavorful taste. Thighs retain more juice than the breast, especially if you’re cooking the skin and bone. It is the go-to piece of chicken at the restaurant I work at. It shreds easily, making it perfect for pulled chicken BBQ or hot and sour soup. They are very forgiving to cook, and can be cooked many different ways–I use them for fried rice, hot and sour soup, and my personal favorite, chicken adobo.
Thighs typically cost one-half to two-thirds less than the same weight of boneless breasts. Boneless thighs are more expensive than bone-in thighs, but even boneless thighs will be cheaper than boneless, skinless breasts.
Thighs are an excellent source of lean protein, cholesterol-fighting monounsaturated fat, and collagen.
Naomi Imatome-Yun, in her easy-to-read The Essential Wok Cookbook, has several excellent recipes for chicken thighs. Yes, she has General Tso’s Chicken in there, as well as Kung Pao Chicken and Hot and Sour Soup.
My personal favorite chicken recipe is from Mennonite Central Committee’s cookbook Extending the Table. It’s a recipe from the Philippines called “Adobong Manok”, or Chicken Adobo. My slightly tweaked version of the recipe is:
2 pounds chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon pepper
Simmer until sauce is reduced by about half. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot with rice.