Most likely, you’re familiar with miso in its liquid form: miso soup. Miso is a paste made from mashing fermented soybeans, rice or barley grains, salt, and a mold called koji, a cultivar of Aspergillus oryzae. Koji works by denaturing soybean proteins to produce miso’s savory, umami flavor.
With over 1,300 varieties of miso produced in Japan, each with subtly different tastes and textures, the most common types found in the United States are white or red miso. White miso tastes milder and sweeter; red miso is aged longer, with a funkier taste. You can find miso in the refrigerator section of your grocery store or on the shelf. Fermented miso has a shelf life of at least a year. Store in the refrigerator after opening.
As a versatile ingredient for soups, sauces, salad dressings, and more, in this recipe, white miso is mashed with ghee — unsalted, clarified butter made by cooking butter over very low heat until the solids and water content separate. The result is pure, buttery flavor. Find ghee at most larger grocery stores, or substitute with unsalted butter. (Organic Valley Purity Farms Ghee).
The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. Rub the miso paste-ghee mixture beneath the skin of bone-in chicken thighs. Cook in a cast iron skillet on the grill. As the butter melts, baste the chicken all over for an umami buttery treat that also tenderizes the meat.
Along the theme of keeping dinner simple, serve Skillet Grilled Miso Chicken with fresh corn and a green vegetable.
Skillet Grilled Miso Chicken Recipe
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 T olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and pepper
- 2 T white miso paste
- 2 T ghee or unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Equipment: 1 or 2 cast iron skillets, depending on size of chicken thighs; insta-read thermometer
Make the recipe:
Heat grill to 350°F.
Place chicken thighs on rack set into baking sheet to air dry. This helps dry the skin so it crisps better. Right before cooking, lift skin and rub miso-ghee compound butter onto chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Set cast iron skillet(s) on grill. Put chicken skin side down into skillet and cook undisturbed for 25-30 minutes, or until skin is deep brown. Turn chicken with tongs and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, basting with any miso-ghee butter collected in the skillet. The chicken should register 185°F with the thermometer.
Remove chicken from skillet to clean baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.