To say that I am reliant on chicken for weeknight dinners is really a bit of an understatement. Every weekend, when I sit down to write out my menus for the next week, chicken thighs goes on the list at least once. Sometimes twice if I am really desperate. I bake them with herbs and olive oil and salt and pepper and a little bit of white wine splashed into the bottom of the pan. They take about 5 minutes to put together and 40 minutes of hands-off time in the oven (longer and lower and slower if I have more time and want them more tender). They are the easiest weeknight meal I know how to make. And while it’s no surprise that I, who do not get tired of foods I love, have not gotten tired of this staple dinner I’ve been eating since before I can remember, it is a bit of a surprise that Gerrit hasn’t gotten tired of them either and in fact often notes that chicken thighs is one of his favorite meals we have on a regular basis.
But even though our tried and true method is good, there are always ways to do it differently. In the summer we pour barbecue sauce over the chicken a lot, which takes the prep time from five minutes down to about two, meaning I can prep the chicken faster than my oven can preheat. In January I discovered Dinner A Love Story’s apricot mustard baked chicken, which we have had a few times now and thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve also been known to bake chicken in some teriyaki sauce–a dish that was a staple for me in college but I have since largely forgotten about until I stumbled across a recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce in How to Cook Everything.
Perhaps I stopped making it with teriyaki much because when we were first married and I was cooking in our little kitchen in our apartment in Houston, Gerrit admitted to me more than once that chicken with teriyaki sauce was not his favorite. But as is true with so many things, it is better when it is homemade. It is better tasting and better for you than whatever comes out of a bottle, and when we ate this and Gerrit poured the sauce over the rice, he told me repeatedly how much he loved it (because I think it surprised him a little).
Even though the prep time on this is not as simple as bbq sauce or even as simple as rubbing herbs across the skin of the chicken, it is still simple (a sauce with only a handful of ingredients) and easy enough for a weeknight. So even though we love our chicken with herbs, we’ll mix it up this way a little more often now.
Chicken with Mushroom Teriyaki Sauce
sauce from How to Cook Everything
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup honey + 1/4 cup water)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the chicken thighs in a small baking dish, skin side up. Rub the top and bottom of each thigh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (don’t be too heavy handed on the salt though, because the sauce we add later will be quite salty). Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
3. While the thighs are beginning to bake, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and mirin. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ginger, garlic, scallions, and mushrooms.
4. Once the chicken has baked for 20 minutes, take it out of the oven and pour the sauce over the top of it. Return to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.