Having guests over tonight – and a whole day to cook (what with it being Saturday and not having to go to work) I decided to cook something that takes a bit more time, but which also could be left alone in the oven to do its thing. Out came the Le Creuset pan and I decided to create a slow cooked chicken thigh recipe. Not a cut of meat that I normally cook but one that I want to use more often – cheaper than breasts (and tastier too) it’s a really delicious cut and I wanted to give it a go today. I used boneless chicken thighs as that’s what I could get in the supermarket but you could always use the ones with the bone in, as cooking on the bone adds even more flavour.
Being extra inventive I decided to go with an Asian feel as it’s a cuisine I never normally cook as I’m not a huge fan of it (Chinese takeaway that is – I love curries and thai and delicate spices, but the Chinese flavours have never really been my thing) and I wanted to create something that I would like in that genre.
To begin with I peeled and grated the fresh ginger (Top tip:ginger is easiest to peel with a teaspoon – there’s less wastage than when you use a knife!) Then I crushed the garlic and chopped the chilli up into small pieces. I used a medium sized, medium strength chilli but you could use more or less depending on the level of spice that you like. I layered the chicken thighs in a dish and added the garlic, chilli and ginger to them. Then I poured over the tamari and the honey. (I use tamari as it’s a gluten-free version of soy sauce and I can tolerate the ingredients but if you are strict Paleo you can use coconut aminos which will provide a similar taste. If you have no allergies feel free to use soy sauce!) Then I massaged the marinade well into all of the chicken thighs and left them in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 hours, but you could leave it longer or shorter depending on your time constraints.
When you are ready to prepare the dish, you need to preheat the oven to 160C. I browned the chicken thighs in a frying pan with the olive oil (a couple of mins on each side) just to give them a bit of colour – but you can skip this step if you’re pushed for time.
Then I sliced the red onions into rings and layered them in the bottom of the pan. I drizzled the oil from frying the chicken thighs and plenty of salt and pepper over the top. I placed the chicken thighs on top of the onions and poured the stock over everything and seasoned well with salt and pepper. (I used a bought chicken stock which has no gluten or nasties in it as I didn’t have any homemade, but you could make your own or use a stock cube if you have no problems with them).
I popped the pot into the oven and cooked for 45 mins with the lid on and then took the lid off for another 10 mins to get the top of the chicken crispy and caramelised. Finally, just before serving I sliced the spring onions up and sprinkled them over the top as a garnish.
This served 3 of us, bearing in mind that two of them were hungry guys. I feel like one chicken thigh was enough for me with the Kimchi Fried Cauliflower Rice on the side that I served it with (recipe coming soon) but you’d have to gauge your audience as to how hungry they might be. I also cooked up some of my Crispy Roasted Kale to go with it, which tastes just like the Crispy Seaweed you get in Chinese Restaurants, without all of the MSG nastiness.
And so how was it? Well it definitely made me realise that I don’t dislike all Chinese flavours. It was salty and sweet, crispy and tender and absolutely delicious. One to choose over the Chinese take-away anyday! I really loved the ginger and honey flavours in it and it’s definitely a flavour combination I’m looking at replicating soon. And the chicken thighs were great, less dry and much tastier than a chicken breast, they really worked well within this dish!
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