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Sautéed Chicken Thighs with Orange-Soy Sauce

In Asian, Main Course, Recipe, Rice and Grains, Sauces / Condiments, Things with Wings
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I hope your holidays were filled with delicious food, and lots of love and laughter.  After weeks of elaborate, and some might say rather decadent holiday feasts, we're back today with a perfect, easy weeknight meal that is not just healthy, but is loaded with great flavors.

If you use a quick cooking rice, this entire dish can be on the table in under 1/2 hour, if you cook brown rice as we do, it'll take you about 40 minutes.  BTW - If you are someone who has always struggled with brown rice, finding it a rather unappealing gelatinous mass in the bottom of your pan when finished cooking, try this method the next time you make it.  It is foolproof and yields delicious results.  

Cook the rice as though you would pasta.  Pour however much rice you want into a large pot of boiling water, give it a quick stir and let it gently boil for 30 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark, pour the rice into a strainer and count to ten.  When you're done counting, pour the rice back into the now empty pan, cover with a tight fitting lid and set it aside for 10 minutes (untouched) to finish cooking in its residual steam-heat.  After 10 minutes, fluff it with a fork, season with salt and pepper and add any ingredients you wish to toss in, in the picture above you'll see we've added some sauteed pistachios and fresh thyme.

Arthas, our resident saucier joined me in the kitchen a few nights back to work his magic with the orange-soy sauce, and could be found over the ensuing days pouring the left-over sauce on just about anything that wasn't moving....it's that good.  The sauce is made quickly as the chicken cooks on the stove-top, simply steam some veggies at the last minute, and you've got a well balance meal that the whole family will love.

Cheers - Steve



Sautéed Chicken Thighs with Orange-Soy Sauce

adapted from a recipe by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell - Fine Cooking Magazine

(Print Friendly Recipe)



  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 1-1/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds



  1. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper.  Pre-heat the canola oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over a medium flame.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down into the pan.  Work in batches if you need to, you don't want to overcrowd the pan here.  If the chicken pieces are too close together, the chicken will stew rather than sauté and the skin won't crisp the way you want.  
  2. Cook until the skin is a beautiful golden brown, then flip and lower the heat slightly.  Continue to cook the chicken until an instant read thermometer inserted in a thick part of the biggest thigh registers 165°F, about 15-20 minutes total depending on the size of the thighs (the chicken's, not yours!). Remove the chicken to a platter or cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, combine the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  

In a small bowl, stir the orange juice and cornstarch; add this mixture to the saucepan. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm until ready to use.
  4. To serve, transfer the chicken to individual plates, spoon some sauce over and around each thigh (again, the chicken's, not yours!), and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds.  Serve with rice and your favorite Asian inspired veggie side.  

 Serves 4


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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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