This recipe became an instant weeknight classic, the first time I made it. The kids had no idea that I thought anything radically inappropriate about the chicken’s body part. They just knew that this chicken was sweet, salty, and oh so good. They knew they were licking their fingers, and they knew they wanted more. But my husband was another story. As he licked his fingers, and asked for more chicken, he looked at me with eyes of love, was no doubt thinking that chicken thighs were highly erotic. You know the old saying. The way to a man’s heart is definitely through his stomach.
I love that this addictive dish is one that’s made fairly effortlessly in the oven. And I love that it’s a cheap cut, priced under $3 a pound. You’ll just have to keep the kids at bay when you open the hot oven a couple of times to baste the chicken to give it that sultry sheen.
Sweet Asian Chicken Thighs
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar (NOT MIRIN which is rice wine, not rice vinegar)
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili paste
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a gallon ziploc bag, combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic, smushing it with your hand until honey is fully dissolved.
- Add chicken to bag and seal. Marinate in the fridge for an hour 1 hour. Remove chicken from bag but save the marinade. You'll need it to baste the chicken as it cooks.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place the used marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Let it bubble for 3-4 minutes so it reduces a bit and kills some of the marinade bacteria.
- Place chicken on a Pyrex dish that has been coated with butter or cooking spray. Using a basting brush, cover each thigh with marinade. Place pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven and baste with marinade again. Take care to spill as little marinade as possible at the bottom of the pan. There's a lot of sugar in this sauce and you don't want it to burn. Bake for another 15 minutes and test for doneness. You can either using a thermometer or prick a thigh to make sure the juices running out are clear.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute and the cooking finish.
- This tastes even better the next day, reheated in the microwave.