Have you ever gone to a Chinese restaurant, looked at some of the menu items, and thought “who the hell came up with these names???” Sure, the dishes probably sound more delicious in Chinese, and we all know that things get lost in translation…but still. Surely someone could come up with a more appetizing name for a dish than something like “baby pig innards slow cooked in juices with hot peppers.”
You know what though? It is damned hard to name a dish. You want to let people know that whatever it is, it’s super delicious, but it’s hard to do that without either going nuts with adjectives or describing what’s in it or generally how it’s cooked. This chicken dish, for example, started out as “Baked Chicken with a Spicy Garlic Marinade” — but, I felt like that title made it seem like garlic was the star of the marinade, when really it was just one small part of the cast. Then I came up with “Garlicky Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs,” but had to discard that one too ‘cuz there is actually little to no pepper in the dish. Plus, there’s something about the word “thighs” that’s kind of creepy and weird in a recipe name, don’t you think?
I finally settled on “Chili-Garlic Marinated Chicken,” but I’m still feeling a little dissatisfied. It just doesn’t quite capture the deliciousness of the dish, you know? If you saw this on a restaurant menu, you wouldn’t know that the chicken is baked to juicy perfection with wonderfully flavorful/crackly skin, is completely infused with the flavors of its marinade, and sits in a bath of cooking juices and spicy/garlicky olive oil that’s so good you’ll find yourself mopping it up with every last crumb of bread you can get your hands on long after the chicken is gone. Oh well. It’s not my fault the English language is so limited 😉
Chili-Garlic Marinated Chicken
– 6 chicken thighs, bone-in + skin on
– 1 cup olive oil
– 1/3 cup lemon juice
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 tbsp chili flakes**
– Salt/pepper to taste (I suggest using more than a sprinkling of salt)
– 1 gallon bag
** I actually would have preferred a little more heat to this dish, and will probably increase the amount of red chili flakes I use next time. (Or use chopped, dried chilies.)
(1) In your ziplock gallon bag, combine your chicken and marinade ingredients. Shake the bag and massage your chicken to make sure each piece is uniformly coated with marinade. Refrigerate until you’re ready to bake, at least 2 hours.
(2) Preheat oven to 425.
(3) Spread chicken thighs in an even layer on a large baking dish. Pour all the marinade from the bag over the chicken, then cover the baking dish with foil.
(4) Bake for 1 hour, removing the foil cover after 30 minutes.
(5) Broil on low for about 1 minute if you want extra crispy/brown skin. (Optional)
(6) Serve with baby potatoes, salad, and lots of bread for dipping
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