Although I cook without meat a majority of the time, I am completely powerless when it comes to chicken thighs. Tender, juicy little pieces of meat on not-too-much bone, they’re virtually impossible to screw up — and even better, they’re almost always cheaper than other chicken pieces.
My favorite way to prepare chicken (or turkey) thighs is to make Filipino chicken adobo. There are about as many recipes for adobo as there are cooks, but they all rely on a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, at least, and usually a little sugar, bay leaves and black pepper, too. After a fair amount of trial and error, here’s the recipe I use.
Chicken (or turkey or pork) adobo
Combine 1/2 cup mushroom soy sauce, 3/4 cup vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, 3-5 cloves of minced garlic, 3-ish bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil and add 3 pounds chicken thighs. Cover, and reduce to a simmer, adding more water if needed to keep the meat covered. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the sauce and set aside. At this point, you can fish out the bay leaves and bring the liquid to a boil until it reduces by at least half. Set a grill (or frying) pan on medium-high heat and grill each piece, skin-side down, until the skin is crisped. The sugar helps caramelize the skin but it will also help it burn faster, so watch out. Serve (with a little of the reduced sauce) over white rice or shredded cabbage or whatever suits you.
Some notes: this recipe is based on what I usually have on hand. The mushroom soy sauce isn’t exactly traditional, but because it’s so thick and dark, you can use much less and get the same result that you’d get with about a cup of regular soy sauce. I usually use cider or rice vinegar, but I’ve used red wine or even plain white vinegar in a pinch (just don’t use balsamic) and swap in any other sugar for the honey. (You could also use boneless and/or skinless thighs, but… meh.) Oh, and definitely make the whole three pounds of chicken because the leftovers are heavenly.