Grilled Chicken Thighs with Pickled Peaches

Pickling fresh peaches and then charring them on the grill adds extra flavor to this arugula salad with crispy grilled chicken thighs. Slideshow:  More Chicken Thigh Recipes 

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Pickled Peaches
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs
4 to 6



  • 6 firm-ripe medium peaches

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, tender inner bulb only, thinly sliced

  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 5 allspice berries

  • 2 whole cloves

  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick


  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup or molasses

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup each chopped parsley, basil and tarragon

  • 4 cups arugula, thick stems discarded


Pickle the peaches

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a sharp paring knife, mark an X on the bottom of each peach. Add the peaches to the saucepan and blanch until the skins start to peel away, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the peaches to the ice bath and let cool completely. Peel, halve and pit the peaches and transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Wipe out the saucepan.

  2. In the large saucepan, combine all the remaining ingredients with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the brine cool slightly, then pour over the peaches and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken

  1. In a large bowl, whisk 8 cups of water with the sorghum syrup and 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Drain the chicken and wipe out the bowl. Return the chicken to the bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, chopped herbs and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  3. Light a grill and oil the grate. Remove the peaches from the brine and reserve the pickling liquid. Grill the peaches over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a work surface. Grill the chicken thighs over moderate heat, turning, until lightly charred and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to the work surface and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. In a bowl, toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of the peach pickling liquid and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the salad, chicken and grilled peaches on a platter and serve.

Make Ahead

The drained pickled peaches can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Suggested Pairing

Fruit-rich Gamay.

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