Whiskey Orange Chipotle Chicken Thighs & Drums

I was seriously on point when it came to food last week. I woke up Monday morning and before Eugene had even left for work, I was already bopping about in the kitchen getting dishes ready for the week. I made a batch of my pepperoni meatballs, roasted some vegetables, and then made two delicious marinades to use on a large package of chicken thighs, drumsticks, and whole breasts that I got on sale. More about the second marinade later, but for now let's talk about my Whiskey Orange Chipotle marinade recipe.

When it comes to flavors, I pretty much always go wild for the combination of smoky + spicy. It's why I put hot smoked paprika in everything. It's why I hoard cans of chipotle in adobo sauce and get nervous when my supplies run low. It's why I go nuts for anything with chorizo in it. If I see those words on a menu, it's pretty much guaranteed I"m going to be putting that dish in my mouth.

What's awesome about this recipe, is that it couldn't be easier. You literally just blitz up a few ingredients to make the marinade, pour it over the chicken, and you're done. If you do it on a weekend day or early in the week, you can just pop it in the fridge and let it hang for a couple days, then cook it whenever you're ready.

If you have a grill, even better!

(But I don't have a grill. Or a yard. So I cooked this in my oven.)

The chicken comes out of the oven sweet and spicy with lots of little crunchy caramelized bits on the skin--amazing! I like to serve this with a fresh side dish, like a big crunchy green salad and some sliced avocado. You can also go the bbq-ish route, and serve with mac & cheese or collard greens.

Tip: Want to plan way ahead? You can also marinade the chicken and then freeze it in the marinade for a future dish (just let thaw in the fridge for a day or two before cooking).

Love this recipe? Here are a few other fun chicken recipes to try:

Whiskey Orange Chipotle Chicken
Serves 4-6 (Leftovers keep very well!)

1 8-oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use half a can if you prefer it less spicy)
1 1/2 cups orange marmalade
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup whiskey (substitute orange juice for a non-alcoholic version)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 chicken thighs
6 chicken drumsticks

In a food processor or blender, combine the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, orange marmalade, tomato paste, whiskey, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken thighs and drums, and let marinate in a sealed bag or air-tight container at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

To cook:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange chicken thighs and drums in a large roasting pan, skin-side up.  (Pour in the marinade along with the chicken.) Bake about 45-55 minutes or until fully-cooked and the skin is fully caramelized and crispy (meat thermometer will read about 170 on the thickest part of the thighs).  Serve with sides of your choice and garnished with a bit of fresh cilantro.

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