One of my favorite bloggers (and people!) is Erika Kerekes from In Erika’s Kitchen. A couple of months ago, Erika posted a super simple recipe– just three ingredients. Erika said the flavor was reminiscent of chicken wrapped in bacon. It was so easy, I just had to try it.
Fast forward to today– Erika’s Chicken with Smoked Paprika has become one of my go-to recipes for those evenings when I just don’t feel like cooking. Yes, it happens, even to me! Let’s face it, we all get busy and tired and stressed. Having a recipe like this in your repertoire makes life just a little bit easier. It tastes great, uses three simple ingredients, and the prep takes only a couple of minutes. Really. Two minutes!
Erika’s recipe uses boneless skinless chicken thighs; they have more natural moisture than breasts. For those of you who like using boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, I’ve included a modification. It will take a bit longer (breast meat tastes better when it’s had a chance to marinate), and it requires a little bit of olive oil to keep it from drying out under the broiler. But it’s a great alternative, and turns out really juicy if you follow the instructions carefully. The cooked breasts are perfect for slicing over a fresh salad for a protein and flavor boost.
Not all Smoked Paprika is created equal. Look for one that smells smoky and strong; a good Smoked Paprika has a mesquite-like essence that is unmistakable. I used Spice Islands Smoked Paprika for this recipe, and it was terrific. It’s OU certified for those of you who are keeping kosher. If you’ve never bought the spice before and are hesitating, wondering if you’ll ever use it again, not to worry– I’ve become a bit obsessed with it lately, so I’ll be posting several recipes that use it in the next few months. It’s worth the purchase, especially if you enjoy smoky grilled flavors.
If you like this recipe as much as I do, make sure you go give Erika’s blog a look. She’s an ace in the kitchen and a really nice person to boot.
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- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika, or more if needed
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp garlic salt, or to taste-- if you're sensitive to salt, use less (if you don't have garlic salt on hand, substitute 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried parsley and 3/4 tsp salt)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed (only for chicken breasts)
You will also need
- Baking sheet and foil. If using breast meat, you will also need a cutting board, plastic wrap, a mallet, and a basting brush.
For Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Preheat the broiler on high. Set a rack in the oven at least 4 inches below the flame. If you put the rack right under the flame, the chicken will burn on the outside before it's cooked through.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the chicken thighs out flat. Sprinkle each side generously with the garlic salt and smoked paprika; if the amounts above don't seem like enough, use more. Do not skimp on the garlic salt, even if you're salt-phobic - it's necessary and still will have far less sodium than any chicken dish you will ever eat in a restaurant.
- Broil the chicken about 7 minutes on each side, until the thighs are cooked through and have developed a nice crust. Broilers tend to vary in terms of strength; if your chicken seems to be burning or cooking too fast, move the rack down a notch or two.
- Once the chicken has cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees F), serve immediately.
For Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, garlic salt, and 3 tbsp olive oil to create a smooth paste.
- Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place your chicken breasts on top of the plastic wrap, with a few inches of space in between each breast (if making 2 lbs. of chicken breasts you will probably end up with four breasts; I only cooked two breasts for this demo). Place another layer of plastic wrap on top of the breasts.
- Use a mallet to gently pound out the chicken breasts till they are an even thickness all the way across and about 1 1/2 times their original size. This will allow the breasts to cook more evenly under the broiler.
- Paint each breast on both sides with a thin, even layer of the smoked paprika paste. Let the breasts stand for 20 minutes to allow the flavor to infuse the meat.
- Place a rack at least 4 inches below your broiler and preheat the broiler. Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Place the chicken under the broiler and let it broil for about 7 minutes till a crust begins to form around the edges. If your chicken seems to be burning or cooking too fast, move the rack down a notch or two.
- Flip the breasts with a pair of tongs. If the breasts appear to be dry after you turn them, baste them with a little olive oil. Let them cook under the broiler for another 5-7 minutes, until cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees F).
- Let the breasts rest for a minute or two before serving to allow the juices to evenly distribute through the meat. Serve.