Recipe: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Blue Cheese Slaw

These better-for-you buffalo chicken thighs with blue cheese cut back on the fat and calories of wings, but still have all the flavor.

We deconstructed — and then reconstructed! — all the great flavors of Buffalo chicken wings into this meal that’s much healthier but tastes just as satisfyingly decadent.

Here’s what we did:

We packed more flavor into every bite by taking the skin off. Sure, that sounds counterintuitive, but with the skin off, the powerfully flavorful glaze permeates every juicy bite. We saved about 60 calories per thigh, and more than half the saturated fat.

We got more cheese bang for our buck by crumbling strongly flavored blue cheese into small bits. Again, this ensures we get the flavor in every bite. The stronger the flavor of your cheese, the less you’ll need.

Here’s the real kicker to these Buffalo chicken thighs: No one ever need know they’re healthier, and it won’t occur to them to ask — because, yes, they taste that outrageously good.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Blue Cheese Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups preshredded carrot matchsticks

1 1/2 cups celery matchsticks (about 3 stalks)

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skin removed

Directions:

Preheat grill for medium-high-heat indirect cooking (about 350 to 400 degrees F).

Combine the blue cheese, buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl; add the carrots and celery and toss thoroughly. Allow to sit at room temperature while you cook the chicken.

Combine the hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; cook 1 to 2 minutes until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, place the thighs on the grill, skin side facing up, and cook until the underside is well-marked and readily releases from the surface, about 15 minutes.

Turn the thighs over and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat (not touching the bone) registers 165 degrees F, about 15 more minutes. Brush liberally with the sauce, turn and brush the tops, and grill 1 more minute.

Per serving: Calories 367; Fat 21 g (Saturated 9 g); Sodium 865 mg; Carbohydrate 7 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 37 g

Get more healthy dish ideas:

Marge Perry is an award-winning food, nutrition and travel writer and teacher whose work appears regularly in Rachael Ray Every Day, AllRecipes, Newsday, and on her blog, A Sweet and Savory Life. In addition, Marge is a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and an Adjunct at New York University, where she teaches food writing.

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