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Smoky Spicy Chicken Thighs

The advantage of roasting chicken thighs on a bed of ham is that the meat stays moist while picking up the smoky quality of the ham. Add as much jalapeno pepper jelly as you like to produce a spicy glaze that delivers a little fire. Serve with black beans.

1/2 pound baked smoked ham, in one piece
6 to 8 large chicken thighs, with skin intact
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons spicy-hot red or green jalapeno pepper jelly
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the smoked ham into narrow julienne strips about 1/8-inch thick. Scatter the ham over the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.

Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each piece with salt and pepper, then rub about 1/4 teaspoon of the ground coriander on the skin of each piece. Place the chicken pieces, skin sides up, on top of the ham.

Roast, basting with the pan juices after the first 15 minutes, until the skin is crisp, about 35 minutes total.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the jelly until it melts, about a minute.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Brush or spoon about 1 teaspoon of the jelly on top of the crisp skin of each chicken piece and return the chicken to the oven. Continue roasting until the skin is glazed and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced at the thickest point with the tip of a knife, about 5 minutes longer.

Serve the chicken directly from the baking dish. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped jalapenos. Makes about 6 servings.

Adapted from "Everyday Roasting" by Williams-Sonoma

Thursday, February 03, 2000

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