Burnished Chicken Thighs with White Wine Honey and Lemon
When cooking for parties with my lovely team, we often served boneless quails (de-boned not only for guests' ease of eating, but also because plates full of bones slow things down somewhat when clearing away large numbers of guests' plates) and it was as a consequence of this, I suppose, that if I gave these glossy treasures de-boned to friends, they were often mistaken for quails. Quails somehow felt so much smarter than more mundane chicken thighs that I seldom confessed the truth. Obviously. This recipe is an old and reliable friend I have used for years. I still prefer to snip out the thigh bone; it is easily done with small kitchen scissors - but there is, of course, absolutely no need to do so. The skin of the chicken blackens glossily as it cooks, but any loose and excess skin should be snipped away before cooking to prevent the sauce from becoming oily.
6 chicken thighs, skin on but trimmed
1 small lemon
2 tbsps. (I use low salt, gluten free Kikkoman Tamari)
3 tbsps. runny honey or maple syrup
100ml white wine or dry vermouth
2 fresh bay leaves and several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
Oven 200c, fan 180c, gas 6
Trim excess skin from the thighs but leave the top of each thigh covered because the skin blackens deliciously.
Fit the thighs fairly snugly in a small roasting pan
In a small bowl, mix together the juice of the small lemon (save the shell), soy sauce, honey or maple syrup and white wine. Stir until amalgamated
Pour the sauce mixture over the thighs, making sure the skin has been coated but is not submerged in the liquid.
Tuck in the lemon shells and fresh herbs
Season, but remember the saltiness of the soy sauce
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes then baste with the juice and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. The thighs should have become burnished brown and glossy and when cooked they should probe 74c.
Remove the thighs from the sauce and keep warm
Whisk a knob of butter into the sauce just before serving to give it a shine and thicken it slightly. During the Summer months particularly, I like to serve this with a bowl of well seasoned thick Greek yoghurt with just a little very finely grated garlic and lots of fresh mint stirred into it. The only other accompaniment necessary is a leafy salad.
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