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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs with Scallion Rice


Knowing that I had a package of frozen chicken thighs in the freezer to use up, I searched my recipes for something to use them with. The original Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs with Scallion Rice, which appeared in the November 2010 Cooking Light, called for a 1/2 cup of ginger preserves. Ginger preserves? They must have known there would be a collective, "Huh?!" from their readers, as they give the apricot preserves and grated ginger substitute I write in the recipe below. If you happen to be the super-foodie who has unlimited access to ginger preserves, go for it, but otherwise, this is an easy switch.

Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs with Scallion Rice

1 cup cooked rice
2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions
1 tbsp olive oil
8 (2-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger (I use 2 tsp jarred grated Ginger People ginger)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced

1. Prepare rice. Fluff and gently stir in green onions. Set aside.

2. As the rice cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Add preserves, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic to pan; bring to boil. Cook sauce 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce.

The Verdict: Guess who's keeping a jar of apricot preserves on hand to make this whenever chicken thighs are on sale? Did you guess me? Ding! Ding! Ding!

The simple description of this dish is: oh my god, this stuff is good. As I ate it, swooning the whole time, I tried to place the taste. Finally it dawned on me that it tastes exactly like General Tso's chicken, without the breading and deep frying. And I loves me some General Tso's chicken. It's salty, sweet, savory, and sticky all at once. My husband liked it, too, but my son was a fanatic like his mom. His entire chicken thigh was gone within five minutes. If that.

The original recipe called for boil-in-bag rice but I don't see any point. It might be faster, but I can't think of a fix-it-and-forget-it food that's easier than rice. You're then free to cook whatever kind floats your boat. I only had a handful of my favorite Basmati left, so I mixed it in with brown rice. The result was very sticky, but still good.

I really can't say enough about having Ginger People jarred minced ginger on hand if you find your recipes often call for ginger. It's cheap and lasts forever, and the taste is fantastic.

Anyway, this chicken cooks up in about 10 minutes. You can't beat a tasty meal that's that easy to prepare. Hasta la vista, General Tso. I've discovered your cheaper, healthier cousin and we're now good friends.

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