I am on the record as being not all that fond of chicken. More often than not, I’ve been known to say, it’s tasteless and sawdusty; there’s almost always something else I’d rather eat. But I’ve been trying to overcome my prejudice, and this Thai-flavored chicken went a long, long, way.

Pay no attention to the black squiggle. (Coming soon: a post about the black squiggle!)

It’s moist and flavorful and altogether fabulous. (My coworkers have been coveting my leftovers.) It doesn’t hurt, I’m sure, that I got to use my brand-new grill, thereby avoiding asphyxiation in the kitchen. I kept seeing the smoke pouring out of the grill and worrying that something was wrong—nope, that just what happens sometimes when you cook things. Thanks to D for trusting that nothing would catch on fire even though I—very evidently—had no idea what I was doing.

Thai-Style Chicken Legs
From Smitten Kitchen, via Food & Wine

5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley if you are cilantro-averse)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
8 whole chicken legs, split, or 8 drumsticks and 8 thighs (about 5 pounds total)
Thai sweet chili sauce, for serving

Combine the garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, vegetable oil, hoisin sauce, coriander, kosher salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. Arrange the pieces of chicken in a large, shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat the pieces thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.

To roast the chicken: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover baking dish with a lid or foil and roast chicken for about 25 minutes. If the sauce begins to char, sprinkle a few tablespoons water into the dish. Remove the lid or foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through.

To grill the chicken:  Light a grill. If using a gas grill, turn off the center burners; if using a charcoal grill, once the coals are covered with a light ash, push them to opposite sides, forming a well in the middle. Set a disposable drip pan in the center. Cook chicken on the hot grate above, skin side down, with the cover down for about 40 minutes [mine took much less time than this]. The skin should be crisp and the meat should be cooked through.

Once cooked, transfer to plates and serve with Thai chili sauce.

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