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Originally published Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Give chicken thighs a go

Chicken thighs are a tasty, versatile alternative to breast meat — and they cost less.

San Francisco Chronicle

To this home cook, the least inspiring option in any butcher's meat case is the boneless, skinless chicken breast. There is much better, and better-priced, eating elsewhere on the bird.

Chicken thighs deliver more meat for your dollar — worth noting in these financially insecure times. And they're a lot harder to overcook. They perform well in the slow-cooked braises that are appealing in brisk weather. And unlike chicken breasts, which turn to dust when reheated, chicken thighs don't suffer if rewarmed.

Of course, the most economical chicken is the whole bird. But if you are reluctant to cut one up or don't know how, thighs are a frugal alternative.

Don't even think about buying boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They sell for a premium, and the chicken tastes better and stays juicier when cooked on the bone.

If you must have boneless thighs for a recipe, run the tip of your knife between the bone and the meat and bone them yourself. It's that simple, and you'll have more bones to stash in the freezer for stock.

If you object to the skin, pull it off. But for best flavor, do so after you cook the dish, not before.

With the accompanying recipes, you can take chicken thighs on a world tour.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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