Grilled Chicken Thighs with Pickled Peaches
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A simple salad topped with tangy pickled peaches and crispy grilled chicken makes the perfect meal on hot summer days when peaches are in season. But you can be sure we'll be eating this all year long because we loved it so much!
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook time: 2 hr
Yield: 4-6 servings
6 firm-ripe medium peaches
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 stalk of lemongrass, tender inner bulb only, thinly sliced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
5 allspice berries
2 whole cloves
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sorghum syrup (or substitute such as molasses, honey or maple syrup)
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup each chopped parsley, basil and tarragon
4 cups arugula, thick stems discarded (or spring mix of your choice)
The night before:
Pickle the peaches
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a sharp paring knife, mark an X on the bottom of each peach. Add the peaches to the saucepan and blanch until the skins start to peel away, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the peaches to the ice bath and let cool completely. Peel, halve and pit the peaches and transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Wipe out the saucepan.
Note: if your peaches do not peel easily, use a sharp paring knife. It may also be easier to peel after cutting the peaches. Don't worry if they don't come apart in nice equal halves! Smaller pieces of peach will be just fine. You just want them big enough to grill without falling through the grate.
2. In a large saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the brine cool slightly, then pour over the peaches and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the chicken
In a large bowl, whisk 8 cups of water with the sorghum syrup and 2 tbsp of salt. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Day of serving:
1. Drain the chicken and wipe out the bowl. Return the chicken to the bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, chopped herbs and 1 tsp of pepper. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hr while you grill your peaches.
2. Heat your grill to medium heat and oil the grate. Remove the peaches from the brine and reserve the pickling liquid. Grill the peaches over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 4 to 5 mins. Transfer to a work surface. Grill the chicken thighs over moderate heat, turning, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 25 minutes or to an internal temp of 265F. Transfer to the work surface and let rest for 5 mins.
3. Mix salad dressing - in a small bowl or mason jar, start by combining 1 tbsp of the peach pickling liquid and 1 tbsp of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Shake or whisk and taste. Adjust as you like (I added more pickling liquid). Arrange the salad, chicken and grilled peaches on a plate and serve. Drizzle a little more dressing over everything if you like.
Zhuzh it up!
We're already thinking of other fruit that would work as well with this recipe. Maybe mango or plums. Erin made pickled pineapple rings and it was fantastic! Have fun with it!
This amazing recipe was written by Sean Brock. Find it on Food & Wine.