I happen to think chicken and a BBQ hold some sort of family memory for nearly everyone. For me growing up, having grilled chicken without a giant fruit salad and fluffy rice was unthinkable. My favorite adult memory of grilled chicken is this recipe, served at our last European family reunion three years ago. My husband’s siblings retired to their respective homes, leaving their children behind for a giant cousins sleepover. Ranging in age from 10 to 30, it was heaven to have the “kids” all to ourselves. The teenagers covertly snuck sips of their older cousins margaritas, stories were told and retold, and videos of fuzzy headed toddlers were played as we stacked ourselves like sardines in the family room to watch.
I remember marveling at the way my blonde haired son looked so much like his German cousin, Lizzy and how my daughter so resembled Elliott, her 6’5″ first cousin once removed. Yes, that’s how confusing our gigantic extended family is. Some aunts aren’t even really aunts – they’re just “really old cousins” per my daughter when she figured things out at around nine years old.
I tell this story because cooking is so much more than cooking – it’s about creating memories. Think of specific kitchen aromas that can bring you right back to your childhood. It’s why Mexican food will always remind me of Christmas and bacon will forever remind me of my dad, but those are stories for another day.
In the meantime, here’s a family favorite with only a handful of ingredients which should come as a welcome. Mashed potatoes as a creamy side along with steamed, buttery Brussels sprouts are the perfect accompaniment. But try eating it in atop a table pulled beside the fireplace, or in the kitchen by candlelight. Anything to create a memory.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: at least 1 1/2 hours
Yield: serves 4-5
1/2 c. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. maple syrup
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt & pepper
- Whisk mustard, oil, and syrup together until emulsified, reserving 1/4 c.
- Sprinkle both sides of thighs with salt and pepper and marinate the thighs in the remaining sauce for at least an hour and up to overnight.
- Grill thighs on high for 3 minutes; reduce heat to medium and grill for another 5 minutes. Grill chicken on other side for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove chicken from grill and let sit for 5-10 minutes covered with foil.
- Drizzle remaining sauce on chicken and serve.