Add some variety to your spice cabinet and try out this easy, delicious grilled chicken recipe! Smokey-sweet from the paprika, tangy and citrus-y from the sumac, and an amazing nutty fragrance from the garlic butter.
This ain’t your basic bitch garlic butter chicken recipe. This recipe is a culmination of all things good in life (vegetarians may disagree) and I want to pass this on to you. Because you deserve to taste the amazing flavors of sumac and paprika.
Sumac is a berry that is dried and powdered into a spice. It’s basically like a powdered form of lemon but less tart. Works as a great substitute to lemon juice if you don’t want the extra liquid. I love the combination of smoked paprika and sumac, because the sweetness of the paprika balances out the acidity of the sumac. Also they’re both red and pretty.
As a tribute to a friend who burnt & undercooked their chicken at the same time, see below for tips on how to cook chicken perfectly (or use the jump to recipe button at the top of this post if you wanna skip):
How to not burn your chicken:
1. As the Chinese say, “Add oil!”
Originating from Hong Kong, jia’you 加油 is a popular expression in China that directly translates to ‘add oil’. It basically means ‘keep going’, a way to show encouragement and support. So add oil, literally and figuratively. Oil (or fat) acts as a protective barrier between the pan and your food. This article from Science of Cooking explains the chemistry behind this.
2. The Goldilocks zone doesn’t just apply to astronomy.
You know Goldilocks and the three bears right? The Goldilocks zone (aka the circumstellar habitable zone) is the area around a star where conditions are ideal for liquid water to exist on a planet. Not too cold, not too hot. You need to find the Goldilocks zone of your stove where ideal conditions exist to produce deliciousness.
Medium heat, medium high if your stove runs cold. You should hear a sizzle the moment the chicken comes in contact with the pan. To test if the pan if hot enough, add a drop of water into it (do NOT mix with oil). If it glides across the pan as a single drop and sizzles, you’re good to go. You can also just do what I do and hover your hand over the pan to see if it’s hot.
3. Patience, young grasshopper.
First, make sure your pan is hot enough. Second, stop checking to see if it’s ready, don’t make me smack your hand! It will initially stick to the pan, but release eventually as a crust forms. If your pan is hot enough and you added enough oil/fat, all you need is patience. You can peek a bit but don’t flip the chicken twenty fuckin’ times and wonder why half of it is stuck to the pan.
4. Use your senses!
The article cited above explains that sizzling occurs when moisture from food comes contact with hot oil and vaporizes. You’ll notice that the sound dies down as food continues to cook and brown. The difference in the level of sizzling can tell you when your chicken is ready to flip. The appearance of your chicken and the smell it gives off are also good indicators of it’s readiness. (If you smell burning, that’s not a good sign)
OKAY GO OFF AND MAKE DELICIOUS THINGS!
Sumac Paprika Chicken with Garlic Butter
- 6 chicken thighs boneless, skin optional
- Pinch of salt & pepper white/black pepper up to you
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 1 tbsp dried herbs* rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano etc
- 200 g mushrooms cremini or white, chopped
- 56 g butter softened (half a stick)
- 5~6 cloves garlic minced
- 4~5 sprigs parsley roughly chopped
- 2~3 tbsp oil
- Rub sumac, paprika, salt, pepper, and herbs onto chicken thighs. Let sit for 15min.
- Heat pan on medium and add oil (more/less depending on how much it takes to cover the bottom). Add chicken in a single layer, do not over crowd. Cook in batches if necessary.
- Let chicken cook undisturbed for 6~8min. Once it has released from pan and browned on one side, flip it over. Cook for another 6~8min.
- While chicken is cooking, mix together garlic and butter**. When chicken is done, wipe out the pan, turn down heat to medium low and add garlic butter.
- As soon as the butter has melted, add in the chopped mushrooms, You can turn the heat up as you see fit. Stir well. Add some salt if your butter isn’t salted.
- Add the chopped parsley and chicken back into the pan and mix everything together. Taste to see if it needs more salt.