Breasts and thighs

There’s kind of a neverending debate in my head about when I should or should not substitute chicken thigh meat for chicken breast meat. Overall, chicken thigh is a hella better deal. It’s juicier, more tender, more flavorful, and way, way cheaper. I don’t usually mind spending money on a delicious cut of meat. I’ve got some duck breasts in the fridge that will speak to that. But chicken breasts are usually so MEH. I have never been super fond of them. My aversion may hearken back to my high school boyfriend (and the first part of college) who was like Mr. Bodybuilder Wannabe Guy. He read a lot of Body For Life, tried to get me to lift heavy things, believed that 20 minutes of cardio was the ONLY POSSIBLE INCREMENT, and seemed to think that “baked” boneless skinless chicken the size of a deck of cards, brown rice, and green vegetables (seasoned with Butter Buds) was a perfectly reasonable dinner. He used to make it for me, and I’d have to act all grateful even though EW.

So I don’t use a whole whompin’ lot of them in my cooking. But a roasted chicken breast with the skin and bone still intact can yield some pretty fantastic results. Today’s offering was a trio of breasts cavorting around in fresh cilantro pesto, roasted atop a bed of poblano peppers, red onions, plum tomato wedges, and squirted with a lime twist.

Before


After


On a plate


In a burrito

I didn’t leave the chicken to fend for itself in that cavernous burrito, though. I loaded it up with black beans I had sauteed with duck fat and onions. Yes. Duck fat. And beans. Try it. I installed a next-door neighbor of a salad of romaine and olives, which would be grade-school, except for the dressing. I threw on a vinaigrette that was flavored with honey, lime, and more cilantro, among other things. One of my favorites, and kind of a blatant rip-off of a vinaigrette they have at Costa Vida in Colorado. They have this sweet pork salad with cilantro vinaigrette that would make you cry all over your plate with unbridled joy. But the burrito–I didn’t want it to get all cold in the night, with nobody to love it, so I smothered it in melted queso asadero, avocado sour cream, and a fresh mango salsa.

Sometimes, I think about the mango and I get really sad that it’s so underappreciated. I mean, it’s so delicious and juicy and musky and versatile. But then I think about how much I hate coring and peeling them, and I’m like “screw you, mango.”

3 thoughts on “Breasts and thighs”

  1. "Screw you mango". I second that emotion. Mango is the only food on this earth that I loathe with every inch of my soul. It tastes like perfume to me.

    Mighty fine lookin burrito you got there.

  2. Mangoes are actually related to poison ivy- their sap is toxic and can give you a wicked rash. Don't ever cook over mango wood (should the opportunity arise.)

    Green bell peppers are my bĂȘte noire; I hate them. And yet poblanos are OK- just different enough from the rank and ghastly foul scourge of the Earth that is the green pepper.

  3. Dude. I dated that guy too….Mr. Boneless Skinless Chicken breast. Every time we went out he'd order a chicken caesar salad with dressing on the side and no bacon or croutons (ie, chicken and romaine). Oh, OH, and the goddamned measured food portions. I'm sorry, but I choose NOT to scoop out portions like a measly half cup of whole grain pasta. I mean, SERIOUSLY, who DOES that?! Sigh. That said, personality pushed aside, he was total spank-bank material so I guess that's a balance.

    Also: I agree on the chicken front. Dark meat is my favorite because it's juicier and has so much flavor, but Mike's opinion…um…differs. He's a breast man, chicken included. Meanwhile, if I make chicken breasts more than once a week I get so bored that it kind of makes me cry a little bit on the inside.

    One more thing – your burrito made me come VERY CLOSE to licking my screen, which is no small feat at 4:45am.

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