Mahogany Chicken Thighs
We wanted the moist, flavorful, well-rendered meat of braised chicken thighs, but we wanted crispy skin, too. Our hybrid cooking method helped us achieve all our goals. Gently simmering the thighs in a potent mixture of soy sauce, sherry, ginger, and garlic to an internal temperature of 195 degrees renders the fat, melts the tough connective tissues into rich gelatin, and boosts the flavor. A brief flash under the broiler crisps the skin and gives it a rich mahogany color.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 8 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
- 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, halved, and smashed
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Adapted from cooksillustrated.com
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°F.
Whisk 1 cup water, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, molasses, and vinegar in oven safe 12-inch skillet until sugar is dissolved. Arrange chicken, skin side down, in soy mixture and nestle ginger and garlic between pieces of chicken.
Bring soy mixture to simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Flip chicken skin side up and continue to cook, uncovered, until chicken registers 195 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to platter, taking care not to tear skin. Pour cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator and let settle for 5 minutes. Turn oven to broil.
Whisk cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup water together in bowl. Pour 1 cup defatted cooking liquid into now-empty skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cooking liquid and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Pour sauce into bowl and set aside.
Return chicken skin side up to now-empty skillet and broil until well browned, about 4 minutes. Return chicken to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing reserved sauce separately.
Cooks note: For the best results, trim all visible fat and skin from the underside of the thighs. Serve with steamed rice.
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