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  • Smoked Chicken Thigh with Saffron & Orange Blossom Caramel

    Co-owner and mastermind behind London grill house Berber & Q (as well as the Shawarma Bar and a kiosk in Spitalfields market), Josh Katz is the ultimate barbecuer. The ex-Ottolenghi chef's latest venture is a new cookbook, filled with big, bold recipes to pair together and share - the perfect excuse to dust off the barbie and get grilling this summer. Here's one of his favourite flame-cooked concoctions...

    "Chicken thighs on the bone are a great starting point for any budding barbecue enthusiast keen to start a relationship with fire and outdoor cookery. They are quite forgiving to fluctuations in temperature; they cook relatively quickly; and are also inexpensive, which makes them a useful beginner’s ingredient for playing around with whilst you learn about the properties of your barbecue and of fire, and how to control the temperature of both. 

    These smoked chicken thighs are great as a snack for when the boys (or girls) come round to watch the game. Make a bucketload and pass them round." - Josh Katz, Berber & Q Co-Founder

    Smoke Chicken Thigh with Saffron & Orange Blossom Caramel, Hazelnut Dukkah & Basil

    Serves 4

    I N G R E D I E N T S

    For the saffron orange caramel:
    180ml freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
    200g caster sugar
    100ml saffron water (a generous pinch of saffron soaked in 100ml boiling water and left to infuse for 15 minutes)
    1 tbsp orange blossom flower water

    For the chicken thighs:
    8 chicken thighs, on the bone
    75g Everyday Chicken Rub

    For the garnish: 
    Picked basil leaves, ripped
    Generous pinch Aleppo chilli flakes (also known as pul biber or red pepper flakes) or use 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
    2 tbsp Hazelnut Dukkah

    M E T H O D 

    For the saffron orange caramel: 

    Combine the orange juice, sugar and saffron water in a heavy-based saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until a caramel has formed with the consistency of a loose honey. Resist the urge to dip your finger in to test this. It won’t forgive you easily.

    Remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom flower water.

    For the chicken thighs: 

    Toss the thighs in the rub, making sure each thigh is well coated and the spice mix is evenly distributed.

    Set a barbecue up for smoking using two-zone indirect grilling with an internal temperature of between 130°C and 150°C. Arrange the thighs in a single layer on the grill rack with no burning coals underneath, set up for reverse searing. Add some woodchips to the burning coals, put the lid on the barbecue and smoke for 40–45 minutes, or until the internal temperature when measured with a thermometer probe reads ideally between 70°C and 75°C (or above). In the absence of a probe, cut into the meat to the bone and check the juices run clear.

    Remove the lid from the barbecue and use tongs to transfer the thighs for reverse searing so that they are directly grilling over the hot coals. Start to baste the chicken thighs in the caramel, turning regularly and continuing to baste on each side. Pour approximately the last quarter of the caramel into a heavy-based cast-iron pan and place on the grill next to the thighs, allowing the caramel to bubble and thicken. Nicely char the outside of the thighs to ensure they are well coloured and the skins have crisped up, then transfer to the cast- iron pan. Cook for a final 1–2 minutes in the reducing caramel, spooning the sauce over the thighs as you go.

    To garnish:

    Remove the pan from the grill, throw some ripped basil over to wilt in the residual heat, garnish with chilli flakes and hazelnut dukkah. Serve immediately. 

    Recipe from 'Berber & Q' by Josh Katz, out now.