February 21st, 2014
Awesome family food find alert! I recently found a recipe for Broiled Chicken Thighs with Pineapple-Cucumber Salad in the May 2012 issue of Everyday Food. Being the devoted reader that I am, I must have seen this recipe before, but this time it caught my eye as an alternative to my easiest Chili Rubbed Steak, another quick dish where you rub meat with practicaly nothing more than chili powder. Given how delicious the steak comes out, I knew that the same approach would make a delicious chicken dish. And with pineapple-cucumber salad? Yes, please!
This dinner couldn’t be easier—or more quick. It comes together in 15-20 minutes, including a quick side veggie like the string beans that I made to round out this meal. It’s also hugely flavorful without being spicy. That’s right mamas: don’t be scared of the chili powder rub. Just like with the Chili Rubbed Steak, the spice lends a robust flavor—beautifully balanced with the crisp, fresh flavors of lime, cucumber, and pineapple—without heat. The kids will love this.
If, on the other hand, you want heat, combine the chili powder with a spicy variety of ground chile pepper powder, like ground chile de arbol.
Either way, this recipe is bound to find its way onto your weeknight dinner heavy rotation.
Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Pineapple-Cucumber Salad
Very slightly adapted from Everyday Food, May 2012
(Can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
2 tablespoons grated lime zest, plus 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 3 limes)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 pineapple, chopped (4 cups)
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices (3 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1. Heat broiler, with rack 4 inches from heat. Combine lime zest, chili powder, and 2 teaspoons salt. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and rub spice mixture on both sides.
2. Broil chicken 5 minutes. Flip and continue broiling until chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine lime juice, pineapple, cucumber, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with salad.
*Note: Though this is an easy meal to share with meat-eating kids 6+ mos, I recommend all meat dishes starting at around 10 months as a personal preference. I typically focus younger eaters on fruits and veggies, waiting to serve meat until they can eat small, soft pieces (as opposed to blending meat into purees). However older your eaters, be sure to offer the chicken along with the pineapple and cucumber for a full flavor experience. Just keep in mind that babies’ palates are a bit more sensitive to the big, bright flavors of this dish.