Have you heard of the whole cookbook club idea? Pick a cookbook, divvy up some of the recipes to dole out to unsuspecting friends and loved ones, and throw a supper party.
After much cajoling, Anton agreed to host one at his house. He got pick of book. He chose The Family Meal by Ferran Adria, of El Bulli fame.
The book is a handsome thing. Hefty in the hand, with beautiful pictures in neat little grids. The recipes are supposed to be the meals that kitchen staff would prepare and eat at El Bulli before service, and so the format of the book is laid out in day. Each day has a menu that includes an appetizer/side, a main, and a small, desert like course.
The book would be a must read, if it weren't for the weird ratios and editorial errors. Some of the recipes make portions for 50, and some of the recipes are just plain wrong, but we persevered. I was assigned a Middle Eastern pigeon dish. I subbed in chicken thighs though since honestly, aside from having to acquire pigeon, the meat to bone ratio of pigeon sucks.
So the morning of, I stopped at the Middle Eastern corner store where I bought pita, dark chocolate digestives, Ras el Hanout, and a jar of nuclear pink pickled turnips. I went home in a very long, but jovial uber pool then ate 5 digestives and feel asleep for a very long nap on the couch. Woke up bleary eyed, but successfully managed to drag myself to Whole Foods to pick up chicken thighs.
The dinner went swimmingly well: deliciously salty potatoes and beans, fluffy couscous, pork belly, chickpeas and spinach, and of course honey and mint coated chicken thighs. It was one of those nights where I tumbled back home, warm from booze and good conversations about nothing in particular.
The chicken thighs were somehow sweet, tangy, spicy, savory, and fresh all in one. It demanded a repeat the next day.
Bastardized Family Meal Chicken Thighs
Ras el Hanout is a complex, cinnamon-y Moroccan spice that can be a bit tricky to find. You'll find it at Whole Foods though or any Middle Eastern market.
6 skin on, bone in chicken thighs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Ras el Hanout
1/2 a lemon, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp honey
A handful of mint leaves, julienned right at the end.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper and Ras el Hanout.
Heat oil in a 12" cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking.
Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Nestle your lemon slices in between the chicken thighs very carefully.
Transfer skillet to oven and cook 13 more minutes.
Flip chicken and drizzle with the honey; continue cooking in oven until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.
Transfer to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with the mint.
Serves 3 or 2 very hungry people.