Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken

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!!!

By Published On: March 24th, 201750 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

50 Comments

  1. chezlerevefrancais March 24, 2017 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 7:43 AM - Reply

      I think his shows are on the travel network, but I’d have to check. I just don’t watch that much tv, and he’s had many different shows. I either bake, or just cook on the stove. It’s so smart to finish in the oven!

    • Nadia March 24, 2017 at 7:59 AM - Reply

      Keith Floyd was a classic! I used to watch him when I was much younger. Loved the constant glass of wine.

      • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 8:56 AM

        Did you see the Paris show. With Anthony Bourdain where he. Had absinthe in some back alley bar?

      • Nadia March 24, 2017 at 8:57 AM

        No, I missed that one !!!!

      • chezlerevefrancais April 2, 2017 at 9:03 AM

        Yes! I have the wine thing in common!

  2. Josette@thebrookcook March 24, 2017 at 7:44 AM - Reply

    I love a yogurt based marinade. Love the cast iron grilling method too. Great dish, Mimi!

  3. Nadia March 24, 2017 at 7:57 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 7:59 AM - Reply

      Oh really?? This was my first recipe from the book. His Les Halles cookbook is fantastic, so I had high expectations.

  4. A Cookbook Collection March 24, 2017 at 10:07 AM - Reply

    The chicken looks great Mimi! I love Anthony Bourdain. I have picked up this book to buy but put it back for some reason. I think I made a mistake

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 12:32 PM - Reply

      Well i can guarantee that you’ll be entertained by it!

  5. anotherfoodieblogger March 24, 2017 at 1:02 PM - Reply

    I love the simplicity of this! The yogurt marinade sounds really tasty, too.

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 6:50 PM - Reply

      I found the combination of cardamom and oregano very intriguing, but it worked great!

  6. Linda Duffin March 24, 2017 at 1:37 PM - Reply

    Lovely, I’ll bet that was delicious. I like your wilted spring onions, too. Yum!

  7. thecompletebook March 24, 2017 at 1:45 PM - Reply

    Simply sensational Mimi.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    :-) Mandy xo

  8. sa.fifer March 24, 2017 at 2:11 PM - Reply

    That seasoning sounds marvelous. I love cardamom–I’ll try this since it’s too hot here to watch meat cook outdoors.

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 6:49 PM - Reply

      The cardamom and oregano mixture was fascinating to me. Worked really well together!

      • sa.fifer March 24, 2017 at 7:12 PM

        I’ve not tried it with chicken, but I’m looking forward to the next chicken that I cook!

  9. Gerlinde @ Sunnycovechef March 24, 2017 at 3:58 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 6:49 PM - Reply

      And I’ve never done it except with really thick steaks. And now I don’t even bother with the oven, but it is a wonderful technique!

  10. Melissa Gillan March 24, 2017 at 5:22 PM - Reply

    I really love my cast iron pans, eight in all!

    • chef mimi March 24, 2017 at 6:48 PM - Reply

      Oh my! I have one large one, but I won’t buy the ones that are too heavy for me to hold with one hand!

  11. Debra March 24, 2017 at 10:35 PM - Reply

    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. :-)

    • chef mimi March 25, 2017 at 8:54 AM - Reply

      He’s a pretty crazy guy. And very adventurous. The book is funny, just as you’d expect, and it’s an interesting insight to what a chef cooks at home.

  12. Cocoa & Lavender March 25, 2017 at 4:48 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi March 25, 2017 at 5:15 PM - Reply

      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.

  13. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward March 25, 2017 at 7:25 PM - Reply

    Love it! 💜💚

  14. Lisa @ cheergerm March 26, 2017 at 5:16 AM - Reply

    I too am a fan of his books and tv shows, he is a likeable renegade indeed. I am really liking this Indian inspired chicken dinner winner recipe too. Nice.

    • chef mimi March 26, 2017 at 7:40 AM - Reply

      Thank you. Yes, I have sort of a bad-boy crush on him!

  15. eliotthecat March 26, 2017 at 12:43 PM - Reply

    The Hubs is fully aware that I would run away with Bourdain if the opportunity ever arises. :)

    • chef mimi March 26, 2017 at 2:24 PM - Reply

      Hahahahahahaha!!! I love Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, too. Something about those bad boys!!!

  16. Sofia March 26, 2017 at 1:29 PM - Reply

    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

    • chef mimi March 26, 2017 at 2:23 PM - Reply

      Thank you. He’s a very interesting guy!

  17. StefanGourmet March 27, 2017 at 5:39 AM - Reply

    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).

    • chef mimi March 27, 2017 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      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!

  18. Frank Fariello March 27, 2017 at 6:12 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi March 27, 2017 at 7:28 AM - Reply

      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!

  19. camparigirl March 27, 2017 at 8:07 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi April 10, 2017 at 4:09 PM - Reply

      I’ll have to track it down. He is certainly interesting. He’s kind of my bad boy secret crush.

  20. Jeff the Chef March 29, 2017 at 10:01 PM - Reply

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m an everday cast-iron user, and a fan of chicken. The marinade sounds interesting and yes to the hot sauce!

    • chef mimi March 30, 2017 at 7:22 AM - Reply

      It was a marvelous combination. I personally love Tapatio, but they’re all good!

  21. cakespy April 3, 2017 at 6:47 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi April 3, 2017 at 8:10 AM - Reply

      Exactly! It’s amazing he’s alive, too, with all of his drug problems. But he definitely knows his way around the kitchen!

  22. Kim Bultman April 10, 2017 at 11:38 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I was amazed at the concept of “finishing” the chicken (like steaks) in the oven. Why not?! Thanks for sharing that tip and this recipe.

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