Dark meat has taken an unreasonable fall from grace over the years. It’s scrumptious, so block the noise of those folks who speak of its unsavory implications. At your next shopping excursion, choose dark meat over white meat; its health benefits are numerous and as an ancillary benefit, cheaper, too.
I remember Thanksgiving with my grandfather, who turns 100 in June. He’d skip right over the white meat for the dark, one out of his wide array of very opinionated actions. If you reached for the white, he’d roll his eyes. “Soft,” his countenance suggested.
I went through the boneless, skinless chicken breast phase. My teammates laughed at me as I removed skin from chicken and ordered the driest possible poultry at restaurants. I made sure to strip out every bit of flavor from the birds. Now, years later, I look back and laugh at myself. From the Food Network:
Dark meat, like avocados, is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. Thighs are also more affordable than skinless chicken breasts, so they’re an all-around smart addition to your weeknight dinner routine.
For me, the kicker is satisfaction. There is a very good reason the best chefs in the country swear by working with the most marbled meats and cooking with animal products like bacon and butter. Fat is richer and simply tastes better. When you bite into a chicken thigh, you experience the flavor of fat. From Gizmodo:
Taste and smell get all the glory when we talk about food, but give some credit to your other senses, too. Fat has the ability to create unique textures—crispy or creamy—that appeal to our many senses.
Because we can sense these texture and sensory differences between a skinless chicken breast and a leg or thigh, we can add less spice. The breast needs added flavor in the form of seasoning or sauces while the latter can stand alone.
You’ve heard about the four basic tastes—maybe five including umami—but molecular biologists now think humans could have as many as 20 receptors for “tastes” like calcium, carbonation, and, of course, fat.
This morning, I proudly prepared a stir-fry of chicken thighs with butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil, a bit of sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. The end product was full of juicy flavor from the combination of fats and the love I poured into the process. Lucky for me and my young men, I was able to count on some health benefits and save a few shekels.
Thighs and legs need attention, too. Breasts have had their day in the sun.
- Chicken thighs (roughly 10 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons butter from grass fed cows
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Cut the thighs into chunks
- Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder
- In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat
- When pan is hot, add thighs and drizzle with coconut oil (You’ll need to heat the oil first just enough to liquefy it)
- Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry until cooked through (roughly 12-15 minutes)