This is an excellent Instant-Pot recipe. Brown it and cook it all in the same pot. To quote Ina Garten, “How easy is that?” And, it’s just so damn delicious, too! This is a nice weekday meal. It takes almost no prep and can cook on low for much of the day. There really isn’t much to say about this recipe. I pull the skin off chicken thighs, but leave the bone in…so much more flavor that way. I sprinkled them with salt, black pepper and ground Sichuan peppercorns. One of my pepper grinders has a combination of Tellicherry, white and toasted Sichuan peppercorns…nice combination on almost anything. The thighs are browned on both sides, using the “sauté” setting. But, you won’t use the entire time given, only about 15 minutes. Then, sprinkle with the first amount of sesame seeds. I combine the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup, which makes it easier to nuke. Nuke the mixture, just until warm enough so the honey melts, about 45-60 seconds. Give it another good stir, pour it over the chicken thighs (bone-side is down, at the point), cover and set the “Slow Cooker” to LOW for 6-7 hours. I check after 6, but I think there wouldn’t be too much damage with an extra hour. Thighs are forgiving. When the chicken is tender, remove them from the Pot; set aside. Turn to “sauté” setting. Combine the water and cornstarch or arrowroot; stir until dissolved. When the sauce is bubbling away, stir in the slurry, along with some red pepper flakes, if using. Simmer until the desired thickness is achieved. Pour over the chicken thighs, sprinkle with the remaining sesame seed and some fresh cilantro leaves. This is nice with rice and there should be enough sauce to drizzle over that, because…go ahead. Say it…”it’s all about the sauce!”
Peas and carrots are a good side, or add the peas and shredded carrots to the rice and it’s almost a one-dish-dinner!
A couple of things—I used some orange marmalade, and it’s good. I usually add some finely julienned orange zest, but alas, there was no orange in the house. It definitely will have a more pronounced orange flavor with the zest. It’s up to you…life is just filled with these difficult choices, no? Second, the lemongrass is a bit unusual, but ever so nice an addition. I purchase it frozen at a large Asian grocery. I think a little grated lime zest could be used in a pinch, or simply leave it out. But, it does add a nice nuance, with the orange.
Sticky Orange-Garlic Chicken
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemongrass (I use frozen)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
- 1-2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to correct the flavor at the end of cooking)
- 5 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- To serve:
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish and serving
Remove the skin from the chicken; season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
Set the Instant-Pot to “SAUTÉ” setting. When HOT, add the oil. Add chicken and sear, just until outside is browned; turn and brown the second side. It will take about 10 minutes for both sides. Sprinkle with the first amount of sesame seeds.
In a glass measuring cup, stir together soy sauce, honey, frozen orange juice concentrate, lemongrass, rice vinegar, orange marmalade, and garlic. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, to melt the honey. Stir will and pour over chicken.
Set to “SLOW-COOKER” mode; set for 6 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Remove and set aside (the chicken should be very tender).
Return the Instant-Pot to “SAUTÉ” setting. Stir in the red pepper flakes, if using. When the sauce is boiling, stir the cornstarch and water together until well mixed. Whisk the slurry into liquid. Cook until mixture has thickened; it will be very thick. You will not need all the time allotted. Taste and correct the seasoning. You’ll have about 1 cup of sauce.
Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds and cilantro leaves. Serve and enjoy!
NOTE: Taste and if you find the sauce to sweet, correct with some additional vinegar.
Sticky Orange-Garlic Chicken Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.
I want to pass on this little tidbit (pun intended!). I had some leftover sauce and it was spectacularly delicious on some broiled salmon the next day…options, friends…options!