It’s hard to imagine sweet-and-sour chicken without the mandatory pineapple chunks, but the carrots in this quick-to-the-table dish are a nice substitution. Serve with herbed new potatoes, rice or couscous.
SWEET-AND-SOUR CHICKEN THIGHS WITH CARROTS
- 8 small chicken thighs with skin and bone, 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 pounds total, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (I used baby carrots)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mild honey
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Pat chicken dry. Stir together 1 1/2 teaspoons salt with paprika, cinnamon and pepper and rub onto chicken.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until it shimmers, then brown chicken in 2 batches, turning over once, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.
Discard all but 3 tablespoons fat from skillet, then add onion and carrots. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Return chicken, skin side up, to skillet, nestling it in the vegetables. Stir together water, lemon juice and honey until blended and add to skillet, then cook over moderately low heat, covered, until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Skim any fat from sauce, then add salt to taste. Sprinkle with herbs just before serving.
Serves 4 to 6.
— “Gourmet Weekday: All-Time Favorite Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, $20)