WritersButt Wednesday – Traumatized by Chicken Thighs

I hesitate to write this blog because I know I’ll get some teasing from it. For I am going to tell you a true story. A story about how I was traumatized by chicken thighs, for real!

At the risk of committing a writing faux pas, let me give you some back-story.

I’m kind of wimp when it comes to preparing meat. What is raw is often visually unappealing NASTY. Normally I buy boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. When I buy them, I look at all the packages and choose the one which has the least amount of ‘extras’ attached to it. Sometimes when I get home and go to prepare the breasts, I’m appalled that the packager managed to tuck up the yucky parts so they wouldn’t show through the film. That’s false advertising! Now I buy the all natural, hormone free — and all that good stuff – chicken and it’s pretty clean. Yay!

Lately I’ve been trying to mix up our meals more, give my family, and myself, more variety. I love to cook and I’m trying to branch out. I don’t eat red meat but I’ve started to prepare it for my family, in addition to my poultry and fish. This makes my teenage sons and my husband really happy. BEEF – it’s what’s for THEIR dinner. But that beef stuff always comes with blood. Turns my stomach.  But again, I try to take one for the home team and just grimace and get through it. (Or I ask my husband to handle it and wrestle it into whatever pot, pan or grill I’m using. He’s my Superhero!)

So, back to chicken thighs. In one of my new cookbooks there are many delicious looking recipes which use chicken thighs, some boneless and some not. I have a good friend who insists that her family inhales chicken thighs like they are a bowl of M-n-M’s.

So last week when I was with this friend I announced, “I bought something at the grocery store I’ve never purchased before.”

She was naturally curious and waited in rapt anticipation for my revealing admission. (Okay – that part may have been in my head.)

I proudly said, “I bought chicken thighs. Three pounds of them.”  (She may have laughed. Alright, she did laugh.)

Then she warned me, “Now, Ginger, you will have to clean them up a little. There will be stuff.” She then proceeded to give me advice on how to cook them.

Back at home, I girded my loins (how does one actually gird a loin?) and sliced open that package of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs. I’m thinking with no bones and no skin, how bad could it be?

It was bad.

Not only was there fat, which I can deal will, there appeared to be many flappy bits. Like, who knew a chicken’s thighs had so much detail, and pockets and extra appendages hanging on for dear life.

I’m thinking chickens need to do more squats, pump up those thighs a bit, so they can looks as lovely as their breasts can. Instead, they are flimsy, flappy and foldy.

Since my loins were quickly losing their girding, I threw some spices on the suckers and tossed them in the pot with the coconut oil, covered em up and prayed they’d turn out edible.

Which, they did! Family loved them. Gobbled them up. I nibbled them with trepidation for the image stuck with me. The experience left a mark. I cannot lie.

But since the meal was met with such appreciation and there was much devouring of chicken thighs, I feel compelled to share the recipe with you, should you fare better in the prep department than I.

Savory Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Savory Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Savory Chicken Wraps

*Prepare your chicken thighs. This is the hardest step. If you survive, proceed.

*Liberally coat them with spices. I used smoky paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, cracked pepper.

*Heat your oil in your pot. I used coconut oil in cast iron.

*Get rid of  Gently add thighs to oil and don’t move them! Let them sear and brown. When you can turn them without them sticking to the pan, turn them, and repeat. Once they are all browned, check your thickest one to test for doneness.

*Transfer your cooked thighs to a cutting board. Slice those flappy thighs into strips. They will start to look better now.

Serve with lettuce wraps. I love red or green leaf, butter lettuce also works well. Or you can serve in tortillas, which is what my kids did. Garnish with fresh salsa, large chunks of avocado and sliced cherry tomatoes.  My kids added shredded cheese and sour cream.

Now tell me I’m not alone people! Are there some things that you struggle to prepare for healthy meals? I mean, I don’t even like chicken breasts on the bone because, you know, I see the chicken’s little ribs and stuff.  And yet, I can power through some boiled blue crab like nobody’s business.

It’s a mystery!


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on March 27, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. OMG, Ginger that cracks me up! I can’t stand bones, tendons – yuck!! David has to do that part of the cooking. A chicken doing squats.. that made me LOL!!

  2. I hate hate hate raw meat! I buy skinless, boneless chicken breasts and then toss them into the pan whole. The times I want to cut them up for stir-fry or whatever, I really have to keep myself from gagging. I was a vegetarian for a long time, partly because my mom taught me how to cut up a whole chicken and partly because my host family in France fed me blood sausage and sheep brains.

  3. I am so with you, Ginger. I don’t like the “extras” either. I always tell my family that if I had to pluck and clean out the chickens, too, then they’d never have it for dinner.

  4. Shannon Esposito

    Yeah, I don’t do red meat cuz of the blood. And I don’t do shrimp unless someone else peels off the legs. Chicken I buy in strips. The recipe looks fab but I can’t get past the extra “parts”. Blah….

    • You remind me that I bought some fresh gulf shrimp from a guy on the side of a road. (That sounds dicey but it really wasn’t.) Anyway, got it home and it didn’t even occur to me that I’d have to have to pull off all those legs and clean out it’s ‘junk’. OMG!! I about died! Never again. Turned me off shrimp for a while.

  5. The only thing that kind of grosses me out is the bag of giblets and the neck that comes neatly stuffed in the turkey carcass. That stuff is nasty. I practically have to wear gloves and a nose clip when I reach in there to get it out.

    My dad actually EATS that stuff. He boils it all up and puts it into his dressing. Um – no freaking way.

    Thanks for sharing. You know I will use this phobia of yours against you at some point, right? It’s because I love you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Yes, I’d be shocked if you didn’t use this against me someday. I’ll brace for it!

      And no way is Ginger having anything to do with something called a ‘giblet’. And necks are for pretty necklaces! 🙂

      Hey — hope you’re feeling better!

  6. Ginger, for years I couldn’t cut up a whole chicken. It just grossed me out. I hate all the yucky stuff that come with it. But I have found that if I buy organic chicken, there is way less junk in the package. The chicken is leaner and smaller because they don’t shoot the chickens up with hormones and whatever else they put in them. And if you’re looking for lean meat, try grass fed beef. Oh my, is it ever good. Just sayin’. Love the recipe by the way! 🙂

    • Hi Karen. Cutting up a whole chicken is pretty ‘detailed’. I’ve learned to get through it even though I don’t love it. I have been buying the organic ones which, like you say, are TONS better! That’s why I got the thighs ‘all natural …’ I guess I’d hoped they’d been as clean as the breasts. I’m going to have to stick with boobs. 😉

      We’ve had some grass fed beef too. The family LOVES it. I’m still getting used to it because I haven’t been a red meat eater in over 20 years. It’s an adjustment.

      My next experiment is going to be homemade jerkey — chicken, turkey AND beef!

  7. Oh, wow, you are so brave for even attempting that! I can only do chicken breasts, boneless and skinless of course. But, I think the recipe would be just as good with baked boobs, so that is how I will make it. 🙂 Chicken breast, turkey breast, and fish (do they have breasts?) is the only meat I cook. Oh, and the very occiasional pork.

    • “Do Fish Have Breasts?” — there’s a blog topic with a ready-made title! 🙂

      Yes, you can totally use chicken breasts for the recipe. In fact, the recipe even noted that. I tried the thighs for something different (and cheaper!). My guys are big eaters and it costs an arm and a leg (or a breast and a thigh –hahahaha) to get them fed enough protein!

  8. A lot of my Japanese recipes call for chicken thighs and I confess that although they taste better, I still go for breasts for the reasons you so eloquently (gag) mention above.

  9. You had me at ” large chunks of avocado”.

  10. Not saying I don’t like chicken thighs, but chicken breasts are SO much yummier!

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