The Time is Nigh! This is the Year of the Chicken Thigh

Ingredient Spotlight

I am declaring this the year of the chicken thigh. I don't have any empirical proof or trend-spotting evidence that this will be so — just a gut feeling that this will be the year when the food world will fall hard for the sinuous charms and soul-satisfying goodness of this economical cut of poultry. You watch. It's going to happen.

Of course, chefs have known for years that chicken thighs are where it's at. They know that the less-popular thighs can be doused with sauce or dredged in breading, roasted until crispy or braised in a pot, spiked with chilis or scented with aromatic fresh herbs — and they'll still emerge silky-tender, juicy, and utterly delicious. This is why you see thighs show up more frequently than breasts on Top Chef: they're both fool-proof and dependably tasty.

It's time for the rest of us to get on board. Yes, chicken thighs have more fat than chicken breasts, but this is why breasts are tricky to cook without drying out while thighs can handle almost anything. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a good route if you're worried about fat, and they are just as easy to cook. Also remember that thighs are an excellent source of protein and iron.

But it's not all about the nutrition. Chicken thighs make an excellent midweek dinner, and they're often a more economical choice at the grocery store. Check out these recipes for some meal inspiration:

How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs in the Oven
Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyere
Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs with Miso and Ginger
Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Almonds, and Chickpeas
30-Minute Coq au Vin

What are your favorite meals with chicken thighs?

Related: Help! I Have Chicken Exhaustion! Got Any Good Recipes?

(Image: Faith Durand)