The chicken breast is without question America’s favorite form of protein. Lauded for its lean, white meat, the chicken breast is enjoyed by the average American about eight times a month. White meat is preferred so highly over dark meat, that much of US’s dark meat is exported to Russia and Asian countries, who prefer it over white meat. However, I will make the argument that there is a better cut of poultry that trumps the chicken breast, hands down.
The lowly chicken thigh boosts both flavor and nutrient density. And, because it is not enjoyed nearly as often as the chicken breast, it is often very affordable. Chicken thighs cost about half of the price of chicken breasts. But I know what you are thinking, dark meat is so unhealthy and fattening, right? Wrong. Chicken thighs contain about 0.5 g more of saturated fat and a mere 5 additional calories per 100 grams of meat. What’s more is that chicken thighs have higher levels of vitamins B6 and B12, iron, thiamine, zinc, folate, selenium, and riboflavin. Finally, chicken thighs taste better than chicken breasts! Okay, this one is subjective, but there is no denying that dark meat is more moist and tender. White meat has a tendency to dry out, which can result in a chalky taste, especially when you have it as leftovers.
I love chicken thighs. They are easy to prepare, and can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, or slow cooked. I personally purchase both bone-in and the deboned varieties from Costco. The deboned thighs taste great on the grill, in stir fries and fajitas, and quick seared in a cast-iron pan. The bone-in thighs taste amazing braised or slow-cooked.
So, I challenge you to come to the dark side and try chicken thighs. Let me know what you think!