Adapted from a recipe by Greg Malouf in Artichoke to Za’atar, this dish roasts to a crisp at high heat. While it cooks, the perfume of cardamom and garlic infuses the kitchen. You can find green cardamom pods at any good spice purveyor and (far less expensively) at Indian and Middle Eastern groceries. Don't use ground cardamom — you need the crunch of the tiny seeds, which are much more intensely flavored. Similarly, if you can get intensely flavored wild Greek oregano (found hanging upside-down in bunches in some Greek markets), use it here. Be sure to leave time for the marinating — at least 4 hours. If you like, make a batch of rice to soak up fragrant juices.
1/4 cup whole green cardamom pods or 1 to 2 tbsp whole black cardamom seeds out of the pods
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tbsp dry oregano
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
4 to 6 large skin-on, bone-in pastured chicken thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
Select a shallow pan that will hold the chicken thighs closely in one layer, such as a quarter-sheet pan, cast-iron lasagna pan or frying pan, or gratin dish. (If using whole cardamom pods, pound the pods until they split with a mortar and pestle or put them in a heavy, resealable plastic bag and pound them with the back of a cast-iron frying pan; discard the husks.) Bruise the tiny black cardamom seeds by pounding them a little to release their oils. Add the garlic, salt and oregano, and bash away a bit more to make a rough paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, then stir in the olive oil to thin the paste.
Arrange the thighs, flesh side up, in the pan and massage half the paste onto the flesh. Turn them over and do the same on the skin side with the remaining paste. Allow the meat to marinate, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours or overnight before bringing it back to room temperature.
Grind black pepper over the thighs. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack at the top of the oven, just under the heating element (although you are not broiling, this exposes the skin to more heat for crispness). Roast the chicken thighs for 25 minutes, turn the meat over, then roast for 20 more minutes. When done, the skin should be beautifully crisp and the flesh completely cooked through. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with rice. Serves 4.
More meat: Read All You Need to Know to Eat Good, Grass-Fed Meat and learn how to choose and use inexpensive cuts of pastured meat. For more great recipes, check out Pastured Pork Belly Recipe — Dan Barber's Way and Flank Steak Marinade With Maple and Soy Glaze Recipe.
Illustration by Elizabeth Krasner
This recipe has been excerpted with permission from Good Meat by Deborah Krasner.