Ginger Honey and Soy Chicken Thighs

This is a long blog about a really simple dish, I talk about more stuff here so be patient or just scroll down to get the recipe.

Let’s talk chicken for a moment please, the debate can be polarizing: white meat or dark meat?

Both have merits and are excellent choices if used in the correct way. I realize everyone has specific preferences but this is a pretty good reference for use based on white or dark in case you are ever wondering if a substitute for the recommended type is a good choice (see note):

  • Fried Whole Pieces- White or Dark
  • “Nugget” Pieces Fried – White
  • Whole Roasted – White or Dark
  • Casseroles Or “One Pot” Dishes – White
  • Shredded (for tacos) – White
  • Cooked in a sauce whole – Dark

In whole: chicken breast tend to dry out when cooked for a longer period of time and thighs tend to have a “funky” flavor the next day; I would recommend making your own decision about this but I have never been able to eat thighs as leftovers.

Note: You know I always say “it is your food so make it your own” so please do this, I am only giving you my recommendation based on my experience. Yours may be different, keep trying to find what works for you.

Let’s start with the meat, I use boneless skinless thighs here for a couple of reasons: thighs tend to have a better flavor and retain moisture and the skin would get soggy during this process. If you use bone-in with skin, just let it cook for an additional 10 minutes during the baking time and an additional 2 or 3 under the broiler; watch it very closely under the broiler.

What you will need (I am just using 1 lb as a start, scale to the size you purchase and it doesn’t have to be exact but err on the side of more than less marinade)

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (coconut aminos Can be used for gluten free)
  • 1 chopped green onion (slice 3/4 of the onion starting from the root, the rest is for finishing the dish)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (canola, vegetable, etc)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional but really adds nice flavor)
  • 3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (can use white but not as good)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger (if you use powdered, use just a pinch)
  • salt and pepper

What makes this dish really good is the fact that the chicken is prepped via marinade so mix together all ingredients (except the chicken, salt and pepper) in a large bowl of container you can use to marinade.

Note: I like to use large zip-loc bags so I can turn the bag to ensure full exposure to the all pieces in the marinade.

You will want to dry the thighs with a paper towel to ensure proper adherence of the salt. Generously apply salt and pepper to the thighs then place in the marinade, refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour up to 24 hours.

Pro Tip: When you watch chef’s prepare food, you will see them salting using their fingers pretty high above the dish and there is a reason for this. Over-salting is the worst thing you can do and sporadic salting is the second worst, you want to salt evenly and with control. The only way to really do this is by using your fingers and “pinching” some salt and distributing from maybe 12” above the meat. The distance encourages the salt to disperse in a way that it lands over the entire surface instead of concentrating in one place like with a shaker. Just a tip, use your judgement.

Place everything (chicken and marinade) in a low sided oven safe pan like a cast iron or braising pan and bake at 425 for ~25 minutes. Just watch it for overcooking on the tops, I turn the chicken about halfway through to ensure proper saturation; broil for about 5-7 minutes to get the edges crispy. The final dish needs to reach 165 degrees to be safe.

Garnish with sesame seeds and the remaining 1/4 onion that will you have chopped in the interim. That’s it, Enjoy!

I served with pork fried rice and roasted broccoli. Click the links for the rice recipe and the broccoli is just below (so easy, didn’t need its own blog post).

Take the amount of broccoli you would need to the people you are feeding and separate the florets and slice the stems. Place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and garlic over the broccoli, toss to coat and place in the oven with the chicken. It will cook for the same about of time as the chicken.