honey-ginger chicken thighs

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These chicken thighs are sweet and savory at the same time. It has the earthy notes of ginger with the tang of garlic, caressed with honey. The accompaniments are pan-roasted baby bok choy sprinkled with balsamic vinaigrette, purple rice salad, and a light fruit salad of pineapple, pomelo (a cousin of the grapefruit, very mild-tasting, not sour), cucumber, and pomegranate sprinkled on top, all drizzled with mayongchid syrup I had made when mayongchid was in season. But a lightly sweet fruit salad dressing will do too. 

Honey-Ginger Chicken Thighs
Marinating time: at least 12 hours
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons garlic (8-10 large cloves), minced
4 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 chicken thighs with the bone in, trimmed of excess fat

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and nam pla until just simmering. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large casserole dish, put the chicken thighs in a single layer, skin side down. Pour the sauce over the chicken, move the chicken around to get the sauce underneath it, and cover the dish. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Transfer the chicken thighs, skin side down, to a 10 or 12 inch oven-ready pan with a lid. Cover the pan with the lid. If the pan doesn’t have a lid, cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the covered pan in the hot oven and bake 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 375˚F/190˚C. Turn the chicken so that the skin side is up. Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning the pan around half way through the baking time, until the chicken is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven. The pan drippings will be very sweet and strong and not really suitable for a gravy.

If you wish, make a pan sauce. In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Off the heat and stir in 2-3 tablespoons flour to make a thick slurry. Add 1 cup water and heat until thickened. Add a quarter cup of the drippings from the chicken pan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Aim for it to taste sweet and savory. For some zest,  chop up a small chili pepper and add it to the sauce.

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