Chipotle Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

Summer is upon us and here comes the heat! With amazing weather and spectacular sunsets, this is best time to get out of the house with your grill, a cooler, and a hammock. To enjoy your relaxing day, here is Chipotle Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce. Featuring a simple chipotle rub and a rich sauce of charred tomatillos and onions, these thighs are smoky and spicy.

Begin with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and thoroughly rub them with a mixture of coriander, sugar, and chipotle powder. Allow them to sit and come to room temperature while the spices penetrate the tissues. Meanwhile, grill the whole tomatillos, skewered onion halves, and avocado halves over medium high heat. The tomatillos and onions will take approximately 8-10 minutes, and the avocado will only take a few minutes for grill marks to form. Grill the chicken, flipping once for beautiful grill marks, remove, and tent with foil. Using a blender, combine the charred vegetables, cilantro, garlic, Serrano chile, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and blend into a smooth sauce. Serve with the grilled chicken thighs for a tantalizing mix of heat, natural sweetness, and spice. So grab a refreshing ice tea and your favorite book, and enjoy this beautiful weather with family, friends, and your grill.

Serves: 4-6

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the sauce:

  • 1 (10-inch) wooden or metal skewer (soak the wooden skewer in water for 30 minutes to avoid burning on the grill)
  • Vegetable oil, for coating the vegetables and grill
  • 1/2 medium white onion, halved again and the layers separated
  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husks removed, washed, and dried
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 1/2 medium limes)
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Tomatillo Sauce Directions

For the chicken:

  1. Place the salt, coriander, sugar, and chipotle powder in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the mixture all over both sides of the chicken and place the thighs on a baking sheet. Set aside and let the chicken come to room temperature, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, if you’re using a wooden skewer, soak it in water for at least 30 minutes so it doesn’t burn on the grill, and prepare the grill.

To grill the sauce and chicken:

  1. Heat an outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F) and rub the grill grate with a towel dipped in vegetable oil. Have a pastry brush and a small bowl of oil ready.
  2. Thread the onion slices onto the skewer, leaving 1/4 inch of space in between the pieces. Brush the onion slices with oil. Place the skewer and the whole tomatillos on the grill, cover the grill, and cook until the onion pieces are slightly softened and charred, turning the skewer halfway through, and the tomatillos are charred on all sides, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes total. Remove everything to a large dish.
  3. Halfway through the tomatillo and onion cooking time, brush the cut sides of the avocado halves with oil, place them on the grill cut-side down, and cover the grill. Cook the avocado halves until slightly softened and grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to the dish with the tomatillos and onions and let cool. Meanwhile, grill the chicken.
  4. Rub the grill grate again with a towel dipped in oil. Place the chicken on the grill and cover the grill. Cook, flipping once, until a crust and grill marks have formed and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 15 to 20 minutes total. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest while you finish the sauce.
  5. Using a spoon, scoop out the avocado flesh and place it in a blender. Remove the onion slices from the skewer and add to the blender. Add the tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, garlic clove, chile, and measured salt and season to taste with pepper. Blend until just smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula as needed. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve with the chicken.

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