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2.22.2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

~The following post contains sponsored content. A huge thanks to my friends at Craftsy, without the support of companies like theirs, I would not be able to take the time to create new recipes for you all.~



Even though I *think* I know my way around the kitchen, there are still some skills I have yet to learn or that need some tuning up. My knife skills being one of them. If any of my friends with a culinary school background were to cook along side me in the kitchen, I am sure they would cringe.



I recently took a free online Knife Skills class taught by Chef Brendan McDermott offered on Craftsy. This class is great, not only does it go over the different types of knives (he uses a Wusthof knife...*hint hint* to my husband!), their uses and how to use them, but he also teaches you how to sharpen and care for them.


  
How many of you cry when you cut onions? *Hands raised high* ME ME ME. Some days it is worse than others, however 9 times out 10, I cry when cutting onions. In the class, you are taught the correct way to slice (not chop) to help reduce the tears. If you think about it, an onion is similar to an orange, it is full of water. So when you chop, or if there is any tearing or squeezing, you are releasing that moisture into the air. The keys are to make sure your knife is nice and sharp and do not chop! Use a slicing motion (how to hold the knife and the onion to make the correct slicing motion is gone over in class). Also try to cut with the grain of the onion rather than against. This is where I go wrong, I always slice against! When you cut against the grain of the onion, you release more of that moisture which again… brings on the tears.

Another wow moment in the class, you can sharpen your knife blades on the bottom of a ceramic bowl or plate! Quite nifty! It’s really sad how dull my knives were, I pulled out a soup bowl and started sharpening right away. Typically when I diced my herbs not only was I holding my knife all wrong, but I left green skid marks across my cutting board because my knife was just not sharp enough. My herbs were always torn and bruised looking after I was finished with them. 


Chef Brendan McDermott, taught me how to properly dice my herbs perfect for a clean cut garnish. After I sharpened my chef’s knife I went to town preparing my scallions and fresh parsley to garnish my Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs.

The other great skill I used thanks to the Knife skills class that came in handy for this recipe, is how to peel and core a pineapple. I’m a big cheater. I own this little pineapple coring tool that to be quite honest, does not do a great job. I feel like I have to use super arm strength to make it work, and I end up wasting a large amount of fruit. Using my knife and the correct method, I actually ended up with more fruit and little hassle.



This recipe is probably my favorite way to prepare chicken. It’s inexpensive, flavorful, and healthier than any sweet and sour take out. The sauce is easy to prepare and tastes so much better than anything you can buy out of a jar. I love to use it on pork, kielbasa, or to dip chicken tenders in.


Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
1-1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (fat trimmed)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs sesame oil
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
¼ cup maraschino cherries
2 tbs of the maraschino cherry juice
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs honey
4 tbs rice wine vinegar
4 tbs chicken stock
1 ½ tbs cornstarch
*Diced scallions and fresh parsley for garnishes
*Serve over white rice or quinoa

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450.

In the meantime, heat olive oil and sesame oil in a heavy bottomed fry pan.

Salt and pepper both sides of each chicken thigh. Place in the fry pan and brown both sides of the thighs.

Once the thighs are browned, but not yet cooked through. Remove from the pan and place in an oven safe casserole.

Add chopped peppers, pineapple and cherries into the casserole with the chicken.

To prepare the sauce, whisk maraschino cherry juice, brown sugar, honey, and rice wine vinegar together in a small sauce pan.

In a small saucepan, mix chicken stock with cornstarch together until smooth.

Whisk into the sugar mixture and heat over medium/low heat until the mixture is smooth.

Brush each chicken thigh with the sauce, and drizzle the rest over the top of the entire dish.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 

 Want to improve your kitchen knife skills? Check out Craftsy’s  FREE Complete Knife Skills Class. This class is great for beginners or even for those who just need a refresher.

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Craftsy to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.)

22 comments:

  1. Yummy. Thanks for the recipe, most certainly would try. My family loves chicken of any sort.

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  2. Never thought to add cherries... love it

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    Replies
    1. Growing up the sweet and sour chicken we had at the local take out joint always used pineapple and maraschino cherries.

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  3. First I would like to thank you for the wonderful recipe. I just pinned it and I plan on trying it in the very near future. On another note completely unrelated to the recipe, I just watched that free knife class you referred to and it was awesome! I learned so much more than just the proper use of knives. I loved all the tips and I really liked Brandon. I thought he did a great job. I have been really getting into cooking over the last year (thanks to The Chew) and I was tired of fighting with my knives. I did a lot of research on knives and I broke down and bought myself a set of Wusthof knives and they are AMAZING! I got them from Williams-Sonoma. The are so incredibly sharp and make my job so much easier. I love, love, love cutting things up now and this class made it that much more enjoyable!!

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the class!!!!!

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  4. Do you have nutrition info for this dish?

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    Replies
    1. No, if you want it try a website like My Fitness Pal. They do a great job of calculating.

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  5. We ll see in the oven theres looks red mine doesn't

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    Replies
    1. Well everything varies kitchen to kitchen. Let me know your thoughts.

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    2. Also camera lighting, computers and such can effect how things appear on your computer screen. Mine were not red red, more of an orange.

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  6. Had to improvise and I do not have red dye cherries so I used pineapple juice instead...and no rice wine vinegar so am trusting plain white vinegar will work... will let you know...

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    Replies
    1. I am curious how this turned out?

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  7. Making this now. waiting for the sauce to thicken up?

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  8. YUM YUM & YUM.......my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. Thank you so very much for sharing.

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  9. Looks delicious .. how did you mould/make the accompanying rice/couscous ball please?

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    1. Hi! I just scooped it with a measuring cup. It's a recipe for Coconut Quinoa so it was rather sticky. My recipe will be up on the blog soon!

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  10. Oh wow! Great tips!!! I'm definitely going to try and sharpen my knives on a bowl!!! Also, why don't I cook chicken thighs more often? They are sooooo good! Adding this to my list of things to make next week!

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  11. Registering for the great knife was easy--wish winning it could be as easy!!
    Your sweet and spicey chicken thighs look great--I'll try that, too!
    Thanks.

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  12. I made this tonight and it was easy and tasty. My sauce was thicker than the one in the picture. I don't know if I was supposed to cover it in the oven. . . Either way I will definitely make it again!

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I love your comments and any feedback. Please let me know what you think!