Wait until the aromas of this chicken suddenly fill your house while it's browning. If anyone’s home, you’ll have to beat ‘em away with a wooden spoon because this dish smells soooo good. These spice rubbed chickens thighs are braised alongside carrots and onions in a sweet-and-sour honey-lemon sauce and I swear you’ll think you’re on a holiday in some exotic country.
While this may smell like it’s been braising all day, it’s ready to serve in an hour, including about 30 minutes active time. That to me is an easy, week-day meal with little fuss and great results. I usually shy away from much sugar in savory dishes, but there’s only two tablespoons of honey for four to six people, so that’s not really that much sugar considering.
Rice makes a nice accompaniment, but if you think you won’t miss it or are watching carbs, the chicken and vegetables are great on their own.
Here, why don’t you have a bite?
Slightly adapted from Gourmet Weekly, serves 4 to 6
8 small chicken thighs with bones, skin removed (optional), about 2 ½ to 2 ¾ pounds total
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons Hungarian paprika
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & halved, then cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-wide strips
1 pound carrots, peeled & cut on the diagonal into 1” pieces
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Stir together the paprika and cinnamon and rub onto chicken.
Heat oil in a 12” heavy non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until it shimmers, then brown chicken in 2 batches, taking care not to crowd the pan. Turn once. It should take about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.
Discard all but 3 tablespoons fat from skillet, then add onion and carrots. (If you removed the skin as we did, you may have to add some oil to equal 3 tablespoons.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring about 1 minute, taking care that the garlic doesn’t burn.
Return chicken to what would be skin side up to skillet and nest it into vegetables. Stir together water, lemon juice, and honey until blended, then add to skillet. (Tip - spray measuring spoon with cooking spray such as Pam first before measuring the honey to keep the honey from sticking to the spoon.) Skim any fat from the sauce, then taste for seasonings. Sprinkle with herbs right before serving.