Moist and tender, this Charred Honey Lemon Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas is incredibly delicious. The easy rub and basting sauce SING with fabulous flavor!
I know this Charred Honey Lemon Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas is going to be one of those dishes I'll be making all summer. It's easy to prep ahead, comes together quickly, is decently healthy and bursts with bright, fresh, delicious flavor! It's a wonderful alternative to same-old, same-old grilled chicken.
No dry chicken!
Because this recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts, there are no worries of the meat drying out. You let it get a beautiful crispy char, something that just can't be done with lean chicken breasts, as they will dry out and get tough long before they get charred. If you're a chicken breast fan (we are, for the most part) I would encourage you to give this recipe a try. It's pretty crazy how delicious those crispy charred bits are!
This is a great meal for entertaining as most it can be prepped ahead. Both the rub and the sauce can be made early in the day (or even a few days ahead), leaving simply the grilling and a quick sauté for the chickpeas.
A versatile, delicious rub
I've started making a double or triple batch of the rub as it adds delicious flavor to so many things besides this Honey Lemon Charred Chicken. With a combination of garlic salt, dried oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, lemon zest and a pinch of sugar, it's wonderful on grilled veggies, pork, shrimp...
I also like to grill extra chicken as this Charred Honey Lemon Chicken, in addition to being served with the crispy chickpeas, is also delicious on salads and pizza as well as in sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas. Like rotisserie chicken, it's nice to have leftovers of this delicious grilled chicken in the fridge to help make quick meals a breeze.
Shake up the grilling sauce
In addition to the flavorful rub, there's another layer of deliciousness that's added with an easy grilling sauce. As the chicken cooks, the honey lemon sauce is brushed on helping create the delicious char. It's beyond easy to make: simply combine everything in a glass jar and shake, shake, shake!
It seems that chickpeas are one of those veggies that people either love or hate. Because the chickpeas in this recipe are softened a bit by cooking in a pan then crisped in oil and showered with the delicious rub, I find that even those who don't count chickpeas as one of their top ten favorites, enjoy this dish! With all their nutritional benefits, it's wonderful to have chickpea recipes that everyone will enjoy! (Another favorite chickpea recipe of ours is this Roasted Veggie and Crispy Chickpea Salad.)
Well, I'm going to head downstairs and fix a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch (on No-Knead Seeded Oatmeal Bread) as I've got a container of this yummy Charred Honey Lemon Chicken hanging out in the fridge. Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as we have! Bon Appétit!
Café Tips for making this Charred Honey Lemon Chicken
- Chicken thighs don't come in, what I call, a "neat package" like chicken breasts do. They are random in shape in size and usually have some extra fat attached to each piece. The randomness gives a fun, rustic presentation when piled on a platter as in this Charred Honey Lemon Chicken. I always trim off any large pieces of fat, but the fat is what makes thighs so tender and juicy and gives them the ability to stay on the grill without drying out.
- This recipe calls for smoked paprika. If you haven't tried smoked paprika, it's a wonderful condiment to have on hand as it adds a delicious smoky flavor. Smoked paprika comes in mild and hot versions. If it's not labeled one or the other, it's usually mild. I really like mild smoked paprika. Smoked paprika can be found in the spice section of most larger grocery stores. Trader Joe's has a delicious smoked paprika
- As mentioned above, the rub and the basting sauce for this recipe can be made several days in advance which makes dinner really simple to put together.
- This recipe calls for fresh cilantro leaves as a finishing touch. In addition to making a pretty presentation, the cilantro also adds a touch of fresh, bright flavor. If you don't care for cilantro, basil, mint or dill (or a combination) would also be delicious!
- Use your best olive oil for drizzling as a finishing touch for this chicken. You don't have to spend a fortune for good olive oil. I really love Costco's Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil Toscano (from Tuscany). Look for it, as they get it in once a year, shortly after olive harvest time. When it's gone, it's gone! Samin Nosrat, author of the popular cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat describes this olive oil as one of the best-tasting olive oils you can get for your money. I don't use it as an everyday olive oil but rather as a finishing oil.
Thought for the day:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33
What we're listening to for inspiration:
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- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- finely grated zest from one medium-size lemon
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves for serving
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 medium-size lemon halved and thinly sliced
Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Drain chickpeas and rinse well. Set aside to dry while preparing the chicken.
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Pour approximately half of the sauce into a small bowl and set aside for the dressing. The rest will be used for basting the chicken.
Line a sheet pan with foil or plastic wrap for easy cleanup. Lay chicken out on the prepared pan and trim any excess fat. Sprinkle the rub on both sides, reserving 1 tablespoon for the chickpeas.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Oil grill grates to prevent sticking.
Grill, turning every few minutes until all sides are golden and charred in places. Start basting with the sauce after 5 minutes of grilling, using up all of the sauce. Total grilling time will be around 12-15 minutes but can vary, depending on the heat of your grill. The internal temperature should be 160-165˚F. Remove from the grill and cover loosely with foil while preparing the chickpeas.
Heat a medium-size nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot add the oil and swirl the pan to coat with oil. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally until chickpeas are golden brown. (If they’re sticking to the pan at any point, add an additional drizzle of olive oil.) Sprinkle chickpeas with the reserved rub, stir well and transfer to a serving platter.
Arrange chicken on top of the chickpeas and garnish with cilantro leaves and lemon slices. Drizzle everything lightly with a the reserved dressing and serve.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and extra tips.
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