Seven years ago when I moved to the Boston area, I attended a program called the Startup Institute to try to break into the tech scene in Boston. I remember talking to a classmate on the last day of that program about my dreams. I envisioned one day having my own space where I could host friends and cook and have a lovely conversation. Recently, I had the pleasure of cooking this Honey Garlic Cilantro Chicken while hosting a friend at my new apartment.
Clearly, we are living through a pandemic and that has really informed how I meet with friends these days. I have limited my social meetups to 4 adults and 2 children that I trust explicitly. One of them is one of my former housemates, F., who gets regularly tested at work for COVID. I invited F. over to my place to relax during Labor Day festivities. She is a lot like me in the sense that she does not have family in the Boston area. I like having her around because we have fun conversation and get along nicely. Plus, she has fierce boundaries which I adore.
Honey Garlic Cilantro Chicken
I didn’t think much about what I was going to make for F.’s visit because I was too busy setting up my apartment the preceding week. Then the day before her visit, I had a ‘fibro’ day where I was in pain and couldn’t do much. Luckily on Monday morning, I felt much better and took myself off to the grocery store to get some chicken. I also had so arborio rice on hand so I decided to make a corn and leek risotto. Looking back on it now, this was the perfect menu because it was easy. I could make the food and still converse with F. without worrying about missing a step.
Honestly, the honey garlic cilantro chicken was the easiest part of the whole menu. It literally took about 5 minutes of prep and then I placed it in the oven to cook. This was the perfect meal to make while hosting because it did not require any attention while it cooked. Also, prep was super easy so that did not even feel like a thing. I literally threw the ingredients for the marinade/sauce into a blender and pulsed for all of 30 seconds. The sauce came out smooth from the blender. I slathered the sauce over the chicken thighs in a baking dish and I was done. It took more time to wash my hand after prepping the chicken than it took to make the sauce.
This honey garlic cilantro chicken can definitely be prepped ahead for a mid-week meal.
For the best rest, store the sauce and the meat separately until just before cooking. This is necessary because there is lime juice in the marinade/sauce. Lime juice is acidity and that will denature the chicken. I avoid this by adding the acidic lime juice just before cooking. Honestly, some people don’t notice or mind the textural change. However, I do mind because it changes the whole experience of eating the chicken. I know it sounds crazy and picky. But what do you expect from someone who writes a detailed food blog like I do? I am particular about my food experience.
The one thing that I have always been particular about is reducing food waste. I have to admit that I am abysmal at it. My weak point is buying more than I can cook/consume simplicity because I get curious. One way I try to counteract my food waste is to use more of what I do use. You will notice that the marinade in the recipe uses the cilantro roots and stem. This is because I have found that a lot of recipes call for using the cilantro leaves without any plans for the rest of the herb.
The amazing thing about cilantro is that pretty much the whole plant is edible, from root to leaves.
Each part of the cilantro has a different smell and produces a different experience with cooking. The leaves are very pungent. The stalk is not as pungent with as the leaves and it is almost floral. The roots are very mild and woodsy. All of these parts are delicious to cook. Explore food by using more of the things you do eat.
The honey garlic cilantro chicken produces a flavorful broth while it cooks. DO NOT THROW OUT THE BROTH. The juice from roasting this chicken is amazing for cooking grains, beans, and lentils. The day after hosting my friend, I made the most amazing quinoa and chickpea dish in my rice cooker using the gelatinous juices of the honey garlic cilantro chicken. It made flavorful quinoa and chickpea went so well with avocado and tomatoes.
Honey Garlic Cilantro Chicken
- 16 oz Chicken Thighs With Skin and Bone
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Lime
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish
- Add in stem of the cilantro, garlic, olive oil, juice of the lime, honey and salt into a blender. Blitz into a smooth sauce. Pour it all over the chicken, making sure to cover each piece completely.
- Bake chicken thighs in the oven for about 30 mins or until internal temperature registers 165F. Take out of oven adn scatter a few leaves of cilantro over it before serving.