Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken

50 Comments

The name of this recipe isn’t terribly exciting, or unique for that matter, but when you find out where I got this recipe, I think you’ll be intrigued.

The book is Anthony Bourdain’s “Appetites: A Cookbook,” published in October of 2016.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a fan for a long time, originally because of his non-fiction book about the restaurant business, called “Kitchen Confidential.” “Medium Raw” was also terribly enjoyable.

His first cookbook was the “Les Halles Cookbook,” from the famed NYC restaurant where Mr. Bourdain was the chef.

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And then there are also his television shows that continue to take us with him around the world, from crazy-busy food markets or remote deserts. We’ve witnessed him drunk, hungover, chain smoking, but mostly, enjoying every strange bit of food and drink offered to him. That’s the Anthony Bourdain I think most people know and love.

He’s opinionated, maniacal, and open to adventure. I’m not sure his tv fans were aware he was an actual chef when he became popular on tv.

There have been many different shows over the years, although they have the same theme. Some of my favorite episodes are when his good friend, Eric Ripert, goes along. Talk about two opposite ends of the spectrum! I would so love to hang out with the two of them. It makes me giggle just to think of them together.

And speaking of Eric Ripert, his pretty French face is featured in Appetites amongst the interesting array of photographs. There’s one photo where I’m not sure if he’s about to laugh or cry. He’s definitely a good sport.

So what’s Appetites about? It’s about what Anthony Bourdain loves – what he likes to cook for himself, for his family, for his friends. Although I did spot a few hard-to-come-by ingredients like truffles, the food in this cookbook is not frilly and fancy. I guess the premise is, even though you’re a chef, at home you’re a home cook, doing home cooking.

So why did I pick this cast-iron grilled chicken recipe as the first to try from Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook? Well, the reason behind it is that in NYC, according to Mr. Bourdain, “outdoor grills and the space to operate them safely, are tough to come by… but anyone can use a cast-iron grill pan to get real char on their food.”

I don’t have limitations with outside grilling space, but for much of the summer it’s just too darn hot to stand outside and watch meat cook. Even with cold beer.

So for this yogurt-marinated chicken recipe, the chicken is seared on the stove, and finished in the oven, just like one would do with really thick steaks. I’ve never thought to “finish” chicken in the oven!

Mr. Bourdain doesn’t give any insight into the yogurt marinade, which is disappointing, because it’s sort of Indian, but not really.

Here’s the recipe.

Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken

1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
15 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2 tablespoons canola or grape seed oil
Salt to taste
Hot sauce, optional

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, cumin, cardamom, oregano, and pepper.

Place the chicken in a plastic zip-seal bad and pour the yogurt mixture over, making sure each piece of chicken is evenly coated on all sides. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Rub a grill pan with 1-2 tablespoons of oil, depending on its size. This is the grill pan I used. It has nice sharp edges, even though most of the time I don’t get the char stripes. It’s a Le Creuset.

Begin to heat the grill pan over high heat; you’ll know it’s ready to go when you can see waves of heat shimmering off it. This would be a good time to turn on your kitchen vent and turn any other fans on.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip off. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it liberally with salt.

Place on the hot grill pan and let cook, undisturbed, for 6 to 7 minutes, so that is is distinctly grill marked.

Using tongs, turn the chicken to cook on the other side for about 5 minutes.

As you can tell, there are no char stripes. However, I did forget to remove the skin on the thighs.

I “grilled” the thighs in two batches. Transfer the chicken, still on the grill pan, to the hot oven to finish cooking for about 10 minutes. The internal temperature should be 150 degrees F at the thickest part.

Remove from the oven, let rest for a few minutes, then serve, sliced or whole, with hot sauce if desired. The flavor of the chicken is fantastic. The cardamom, cumin, and oregano really worked together.

So in the future I think I’ll stick with my cast-iron skillet, and not worry about grill marks.

The whole concept of charring/searing the chicken on the stove, then finishing it in the oven is brilliant. And it worked beautifully. I will certainly be using this technique in the future.

Oh, and adding hot sauce? Brilliant!!!

50 thoughts on “Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken

  1. I’m not familiar with the chef so I’ll check on Food Network to see if he’s on. Have you ever seen any of Keith Floyd? He was a bit of a rebel? I usually cook chicken thighs skin side down and then finish in the oven as I like to drain off lots of fat before I start and without skin this dish sounds very Indian as you say. Looks lovely Mimi.

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  2. Love Anthony as a personality but not crazy about his recipes. I have that same book “appetites” and have not had great success with the few I tried.

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  3. My husband and I enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain’s TV show but except for his first book, Kitchen Confidential, have not read any of his other books. I have to check them out.. I also like the idea of finishing charred meat in the oven. Thanks for this informative post.

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  4. I love cooking with my grandmother’s cast iron skillet and I think I would prefer it to the griddle marks! I think I’d enjoy Bourdain’s cookbook. He’s such an interesting character and much of what he eats on “Parts Unknown” is too adventurous for me. But I would be interested in what he cooks at home. Thanks for sharing a recipe that tempts me. :-)

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  5. This sounds fantastic, Mimi! And I love your use of the spring onions alongside. Also a fan of Bourdain here – it took me years after reading Kitchen Confidential to eat swordfish again!

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    • It was really fascinating. I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten shot. But I love what he’s said about Rachel Ray and Ina Garten. It’s not nice, but he’s so right. He’s just funny.

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  6. You might say that this recipe isn’t tremendously exciting, but it sure looks delicious!!! I didn’t know Bourdain, thanks for the culture lesson ;) xx

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  7. Didn’t know Bourdain either. I agree the recipe seems Indian. You could also cook the chicken sous-vide with the marinade, and then sear. With the yogurt you won’t get grill marks because the yogurt is wet and acidic (whereas alkaline and dry is needed for Maillard).

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    • You’re supposed to wipe all of the marinade off before searing or cooking, but I’ve never been able to do that. It just seems like a shame, but then, it affects any kind of browning attempts. It’s Indian except for oregano, but the combination worked!

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  8. Looks delicious, Mimi! One of the most delicious chicken dishes I ever ate—many years ago at the house of a law school professor who later went on to earn a Nobel Prize, but not for the chicken—was marinated in yoghurt. It really does do wonders for the flavor.

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    • Interesting story! I love yogurt marinades as well, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to wipe it all off before cooking, and I just can’t bring myself to do that!

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  9. This sounds exactly like something I would love to make for a weekday dinner. Love Anthony Bourdain. Love his books and his shows. There was a terrific profile of him in a recent New Yorker. If you are fan, find it and read it. I think you will like it.

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  10. This dish looks incredible! Yes, with his big personality it’s hard to remember this guy actually has his chops (and then some) in the kitchen! I’m intrigued by that marinade.

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