Bake It In

Fall brings with it the season of using the oven. Whether you're roasting root vegetables or baking cookies, you get amazing food, a gloriously smelling kitchen, and a toasty cloud of warmth that drifts from the oven once everything's out of it. No wonder I start lining up my favorite oven favorites this time of the year!

Among those, baking chicken ranks high. After all, it smells amazing, doesn't take a lot of hands-on time, and leaves you with baked chicken that can be enjoyed in any number of wonderful ways. So this time around, I thought I'd share my take on specialty flavoring chicken thighs in the oven:

This particular version involves the sweet-spicy combination of honey and sriracha, although this recipe is a lot more about the technique used and less about the particulars of the sauce. You could grab your favorite sauce or toss together something less sweet, less spicy, or entirely different for flavoring your chicken. They key here is using dark meat with the bones and skin intact and baking it for an hour - half of it at 400°F to start things out and the other half at 350°F to finish things up - making sure you brush it with the sauce of your choice halfway through. Then, your next stop is at the table enjoying some of the most succulent, flavorful chicken you've ever had.

I love pairing this kind of food with other items that can find their way to the top rack of the oven while the chicken bakes. Roasted potatoes or other root vegetables are ideal, as is a baked casserole, rice dish, or gratin. This time of the year begs for hearty food that's spent a bit of time immersed in comforting heat. Then share it with friends and loved ones and be grateful. I know Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but I think it's okay to start early with the gratitude, don't you?

Honey-Sriracha Chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs, bones and skin on
  • 1 1/2 T. honey
  • 1 T. tamari or soy sauce (use gluten free tamari if you avoid gluten in your diet)
  • 1 tsp. sriracha chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet. I like to cover the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat to make for easier cleanup. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together while the chicken is baking. When the first 30 minutes of baking is done, carefully remove the chicken from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and brush the sauce evenly and generously over the chicken. You will likely brush each piece 3-4 times with the sauce to get a generous coating.

Return the chicken to the oven and bake another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has caramelized and bubbled on the surface. Serve hot.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour