Ok, there, I said it. I love thighs on a lovely bird. Nice squeezy thighs with a bit of fat on them. A perfect handful of meat that goes well within anything. Tender, juicy, and soft to bite into. Welcome to my chicken thighs adventure!
(what did you think I was talking about – you dirty fecker!)
Last week was typical with the usual school duties, an unwarranted snow day, exams, job hunting, and attempting to become a chicken farmer. Oh, and a damn cool father-daughter bonding day when we attended the Viking offspring’s latest weekend and after-school adventure activity.
Dark Meat & Thighs
Over the past four years, we’ve eaten a lot of chicken—all kinds of chicken cuts and recipes from all over the world.
To say we love chicken is an understatement, and our shift from primarily beef and pork to chicken was effortless. There are so many delicious chicken recipes that you could quickly fill a meal plan with only chicken recipes.
But what is the sudden obsession with the darker meat on a chicken?
For decades, people have been putting chicken breasts (white meat) on a pedestal from a health and texture/flavor perspective. Health gurus proclaimed that skinless breasts are the best to eat, and my dietician highly recommends white chicken meat over darker meats.
Before you even start. This has NOTHING to do with white privilige or racism.
The main reason behind this was that darker meats contain more fat, which is accurate, and also contains slightly higher calories than white chicken meat. But dark meat is damn delicious! And just as healthy as white chicken meat unless you eat all the extra chicken fat in large quantities.
A few healthy benefits
|B-12 (cobalamin)||It helps your body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and protein, helps maintain the nervous system and aids in blood cell formation. Meats are the only natural sources of this vitamin.||Dark meat, including thighs, legs & wings, is very high in vitamin B12. Skinless legs contain 60% DV.|
|Biotin||It helps your body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and protein metabolism aids in producing fatty acids, and helps your body utilize B vitamins.||Dark meat, including thighs, legs & wings, is a source of biotin. For example, skinless legs contain 15% DV.|
|Niacin||It helps your body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and protein, helps maintain the digestive system, and aids in blood circulation, nerve function, and appetite regulation. It also helps to build and maintain healthy skin.||Breasts, thighs, legs & wings are excellent sources of niacin. For example, skinless breasts contain 100% DV.|
The Dark Meat Insights
In the US, especially among BBQ enthusiasts, we have consumed dark meat meats for a long time. We serve dark meat as wings and drumsticks in variations and, more recently, as crispy deep-fried chicken sandwiches.
KFC is the king of offering dark meat as a fast food, and the Southern States have been leading the way with dark meat for a century (or more).
However, chicken breasts are still the preferred cut for most homes in the US. We have tried our share of many excellent recipes. It is indeed a very tasty piece of meat.
However, if you want to venture to more exotic dishes from, e.g., India and South America, you will find many more recipes using dark meats. This is because dark meat packs so more flavor and is more tender. I prefer dark chicken meat.
I believe there are several reasons for the popularity of specific meat cuts on a chicken. These opinions are based on how we perceive and use various meat sources and what we deem clean and ‘dirty’ meat. Some even call particular meat cuts the ‘poor man’s meat”. But, again, these are my views, and nothing scientific behind it.
Wings and thighs are by many viewed as scrap or poor man’s meat. It was a less desirable piece of meat with little meat, and extra fat. You might throw it in stews or leftover dishes, but it was not intended (by some) as a piece of meat to be served as the main meat.
However, in my humble opinion, it is a highly underrated piece of meat that is very delicious and flavourful. We have started to use chicken thighs in more recipes that historically are made with chicken breasts, with excellent results.
I can highly recommend using chicken thighs – just do it!
Chicken All the Way
In the spirit of chickens, we have a couple of dishes on the menu this week that contains chicken. More importantly, they contain chicken thighs. Nice a juicy thighs that are super tender.
It of course helps when we can mix the chicken with green peppers, onions, cauliflower rice, orzo, and plenty of garlic. Hearty meals for a hungry family. Perfect recipes for a busy week.
More importantly, we also got an opportunity to create a famous soup from Olive Garden called Zuppa Toscana. I’m sure there’s a better traditional Italian variation, but this recipe is scrumptious. Perhaps because I add some Viking lettuce (bacon) and spicy pork sausage meat.
Despite my best efforts to reduce bread intake, I often make school lunches that contain some sort of bread. I prefer to make my own bread for the kids, but we cannot be picky and they often have bread on sale at the local super market.
Happy eating my fellow meal plan freaks!
|Monday||Stuffed croissant||Mexican cheesy chicken skillet|
|Tuesday||Tuna cheese melt bagels||Freezer surprise – I think it is pulled pork … or something pulled!|
|Wednesday||Melted cheese on homemade sourdough bread||One pan of garlic chicken thighs with Orzo|
|Thursday||Stuffed pizza balls with pepperoni & mozzarella||Zuppa Toscana – with a twist|
|Friday||Egg n cheese bagel||Nacho Fever|
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.
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