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Almost every week I roast bone-in skin-on chicken thighs on a sheet pan the same way, with a mix of fresh thyme and rosemary, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s a staple of my comfort-food repertoire. But yesterday, I opted out of my comfort zone and went for a spicier dish: Mark Bittman’s Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs posted on the New York Times Cooking website. Having all the ingredients for the spice rub in my pantry, except for a small jalapeño, also contributed to my choosing this dish.

After reading some of the reader comments on the site, I made a few changes to the recipe. I halved the amount of lemon juice and upped the amount of tomato paste, cumin, and coriander. Unfortunately, I did not increase the amount of salt. I also let the thighs marinate in the fridge for almost 3 hours and then lightly drizzled them with olive oil before putting them into the oven.

The result was delicious, but benefited from some additional salt and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice at the table.

This is a recipe you can play with (as I plan to do in the future).

A camera malfunction (really user error) resulted in my not having any prep photos, but with such an easy recipe I don’t their absence matters.

Spicy Roasted Chicken Thighs (adapted from Mark Bittman on the New York Times Cooking website.)

8 chicken thighs, with skin, pierced all over with a small knife and trimmed of any excess skin and fat.
5 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded
Zest of 1 whole lemon and juice of half
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1.5 teaspoons cumin powder
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put trimmed chicken thighs in a bowl. Finely mince garlic, ginger and pepper. Toss with all remaining ingredients or put in a small food processor, and grind to a paste. (It is O.K. if the coriander seeds are not fully pulverized. They will add a little crunch.) (I recommend the small food-processor option.)

2. Rub mixture thoroughly into chicken. At this point, you can cover, and refrigerate for up to a day.

3. Put thighs, skin side up, in a roasting pan (I prefer a rimmed sheet pan). Roast for 35 to 45 minutes or until done.

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Yield: 4 servings.

Wine Pairing: Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc

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