Green-Chile Chicken Thighs with Arugula Salad

Adam Perry Lang, owner of Daisy May's BBQ USA in New York City, tasted New Mexican Hatch green-chile powder for the first time during one of his "flavor recon missions," he says. "I was absolutely amazed by the color, fruitiness, and bright, floral taste. The powder isn't a substitute for fresh chiles; it's a whole different flavor experience." Now he sprinkles the powder on pork, grilled corn, and poultry, including these delightful, crisp chicken thighs, which are excellent served atop creamy grits. You can find green-chile powder online from several purveyors.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
6 servings


Creamy Grits

  • 2 cups coarse, stone-ground grits

  • 6 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups water

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 tablespoons New Mexican Hatch green-chile powder or other mild green-chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 12 chicken thighs on the bone, trimmed of excess skin

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 pound baby arugula

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 pound queso fresco or farmer cheese, crumbled (2 cups)


Make the Grits

  1. Put the grits in a medium bowl and cover with water. Stir a few times, then let stand for 1 minute. Tilt the bowl slightly, allowing the chaff to float to the top. Spoon off the chaff and drain the grits.

  2. Transfer the grits to a large, heavy saucepan. Add the milk and water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the grains are just barely tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the grits are tender, about 10 minutes longer.

  3. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the corn and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir the corn into the grits, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve warm.

Make the Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the butter in a medium roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the chile powder, coriander, and oregano with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the seasonings generously over the chicken thighs, pressing to help them adhere.

  2. Transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, skin side down. Cover the chicken with foil and roast for 1 hour. Turn the chicken thighs and roast, uncovered, for 25 minutes longer, until they are cooked through and the pan juices are slightly reduced.

  3. Heat the broiler. Broil the chicken 6 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin is golden and crisp. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season the pan juices with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the Salad

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the arugula, cilantro, and queso fresco, and season with salt and pepper to taste once again.

Serve the Chicken

  1. Spoon the Creamy Grits into 6 shallow bowls and top with the chicken thighs. Mound the salad alongside, drizzle the pan juices all around, and serve.

Make Ahead

The grits can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the grits before reheating.

Suggested Pairing

An oak-fermented New Zealand Pinot Gris has enough body to stand up to this bold-flavored chicken.

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