My two guilty pleasures from Chinese carry out places are sadly things that I can no longer order now that I am eating a gluten free diet.
It’s probably better for me in the long run not to be noshing on deep fried crab wontons and deep friend General Tso’s Chicken but what’s a girl to do when she has the hankering for that sticky sweet savory sauce?
You know the answer…make something even BETTER at home.
This recipe was also semi-inspired by the Yummy Oven Glazed Chicken that I made earlier this summer. Since then, I’ve been on a roll trying to find easy recipes for chicken thighs (either bone-in or bone-less) that can come together quickly and without much fuss.
While there are quite a few ingredients for the sauce, the preparation is simple and easy. This starts on the stove but finishes in the oven so you aren’t chained to your kitchen the entire time.
Here’s what you need:
Chicken Thighs, Olive Oil, Soy Sauce (or Tamari for GF), Rice Wine Vinegar, Honey, Sesame Oil, Chili Garlic Sauce, Dry Sherry, Corn Starch, Orange Zest, Ginger, Black Pepper, Green Onions, & Sesame Seeds
I looked around the internet for various General Tso’s recipes and sort of combined them into the sauce you see here. Being gluten free, I had to find some way around the hoisin sauce used in most recipes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix ½ cup soy sauce with ¼ cup honey. I always use the low sodium soy sauce my recipes don’t get overly salty.
Add 1 Tablespoon of chili garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and the zest of 1 orange.
Remove the brown skin from a piece of ginger (about 1 inch long) and grate it on a microplane or grater with very small holes.
You could also finely chop the ginger but I find that grating is not only easier but also makes some ginger “juice” that you don’t get from chopping.
If you’re using a microplane, be sure to check the bottom side – that’s where most of your grated ginger is hiding.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup dry sherry with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Whisk until there are no lumps…
then add it to the bowl of sauce and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
Zap the sauce in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
If you are anti-microwave, you can always build this sauce in a small pan on the stove. I was just trying to avoid washing another pan.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-safe non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Remove the skin* from 8 chicken thighs and season with pepper. (Once again, for me the soy sauce is salty enough that I don’t add extra salt to the chicken.)
*I remove the skin to make this lighter and healthier. If you choose to leave the skin on the chicken (you know who you are), you will probably need to remove some of the grease from the pan before adding the sauce.
Brown the chicken on both sides then pour about 3/4 of the sauce over the chicken.
Scoot the chicken pieces around in the sauce to get a good coating all over the top and sides.
Place the pan in the oven and bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden, saucy, and cooked through.
For even better coverage, use a spoon to baste the sauce from the pan onto the top of the chicken about halfway through the cooking time.
My chicken thighs had the bone in so they took 25 minutes. Boneless thighs would need less cooking time.
Place the chicken on a platter and drizzle with the reserved sauce. Top with sliced green onion tops and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
It makes me so happy to have food full of the flavors you crave that is good for you!
Forget those deep fried little nuggets and dive into real pieces of saucy chicken.
General Tso won’t know what hit him!