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.

Pan Roasted Pineapple Pomegranate Chicken: It is good for your soul….

So I know you all think that all I do is go to the market and buy all of these ridiculous ingredients (sometimes I do) but I mostly inventory what I have about to turn and make a meal out of that. Seriously, it is my goal to let everyone know how easy cooking can be. If you don’t have a main ingredient, just use what you have. It is your food, make it your own!

I served this chicken with Parmesan Herb Acorn Squash and Wild Rice with pan juices and let me tell you this: I could have just eaten the squash. It was uh-maze-ing! Click the links above for the recipes.

Here is what you will need for the chicken:

1 whole chicken (you can purchase one already dissected but I choose to do that myself)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 of a whole pineapple

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 jalapeño pepper

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic

Heat the oil in a cast iron pan (if you don’t have one, please just go out and get one already but you can use any heavy oven-safe skillet) and allow to heat. While the oil heats, combine the coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl; pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasonings and lightly rub into the skin. Cut the pineapple into “half moon” segments, you should have ~5 and this is only relevant because you don’t want them to be too thin or they will disintegrate in the pan.

When the oil sizzles, place the chicken in the pan skin side down. Allow the chicken to sit, undisturbed and uncovered, for 3-5 minutes to allow the skin to get crispy; remove to a plate. Add the pineapple to the pan and place the chicken, skin side up, back into the pan and place in a preheated 425 oven. Cook for ~45 minutes until the juices from the breast run clear or the temperature reaches 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast (be sure not to touch the bone). Careful not to cook too long or the other pieces will dry out.

While the chicken cooks, combine the juices, pepper, paprika, sugar, vinegar and garlic to a saucepan and cook until it thickens; maybe about 15 minutes.

Once the chicken reaches the desired doneness, brush with the pomegranate pineapple “syrup” and place back in the oven for about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and serve the chicken with a slice (or two) of the pineapple and a drizzle of the pan juices and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Check out the other recipe from this meal via the link above or below (I won’t give you the wild rice recipe, it was just the organic wild rice you get in a bag at the market):

Parmesan Herbed Acorn Squash