Paleo Honey Chicken
Updated: Jul 28
If I could eat one thing everyday, it would be this marinated honey chicken! Mouthwatering umami forward flavor balanced with sweet honey and earthy garlic, this simple chicken thigh recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal! Serve with brown or cauliflower rice (Paleo and Whole30 option), Korean spinach and cucumber kimchi for an easy, flavorful, and balanced dinner!
Growing up Korean, my mom would make "Korean chicken," as we would call it, and I just loved it, actually I preferred this over bulgogi! However, soy sauce is very inflammatory as the soy used is typically sourced from conventional pesticide coated GMO soybeans. Not to mention the incredibly high amounts of refined salt found in soy sauce, it is definitely not one of my preferred ingredients for any of my Korean or Asian dishes. For this dish I created a perfectly balanced marinade that tastes almost exactly like the soy based counterpart, but it is made with whole food ingredients making this dish gluten free and soy free!
Why Chicken is So Good For You!
We all know that chicken is a tasty and fantastic source of protein, but do you know why it is so good for you? Chicken, along with many other sources of animal protein, such as beef, eggs and fish, are a complete source of protein. This means that all nine essential amino acids are present and available to you when you eat these foods. When it comes to nutrients, anything labeled as "essential" means that your body cannot make or synthesize this nutrient, so it must be provided to your body by the foods you eat.
As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must eat everyday to provide our bodies energy as well as the building blocks necessary in everyday functions such as growth and repair, immune support, and in the synthesis of our hormones and neurotransmitters.
The nine essential amino acids and their roles are :
Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health
Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair
Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.
Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.
Isoleucine: necessary in immune function and energy regulation.
Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.
Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body's ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).
Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.
Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body's ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)
So grab some whole chicken thighs and let's get cooking!
Paleo Honey Chicken Ingredients
6-8 Whole Chicken Thighs, bone in with skin
1/4 cup Pure Honey
3/4 cup Coconut Aminos (click for my favorite brand!)
2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Pure Sesame Oil (This is my go to for all my Asian dishes!)
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1/3 cup Filtered Water
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds (opt)
2 Green Onions, julienned
3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
2 tsp Fresh Ginger, grated
3/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
How to Make Paleo Honey Chicken
1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 marinade ingredients and mix well with a whisk to evenly combine and dissolve the honey.
2. Julienne the green onions, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger, add to the marinade and stir to combine.
3. Add the chicken then flip a few times to ensure the entire thigh is coated in the marinade.
4. After all the chicken has been added and evenly coated, gently press them into the marinade to submerge as much as possible.
5. Cover and marinate for at least 4-hours to overnight in the refrigerator (the longer the more flavorful the chicken will be,) flipping halfway to evenly marinate both sides.
6. Preheat your oven or grill to 425 degrees
*For the Oven: Layer the chicken in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for approximately 25-minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
* For the Grill: Grill the chicken flesh side down first for 10-12 minutes. Flip and grill another 10-12 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Be sure to keep an eye on the chicken once it is flipped as the rendered oil from the skins can catch fire. I like to move these to the center of the grill and turn the heat to low while keeping the outer burners on high to maintain a 425 degree temperature in the grill and to minimize potential flares.
7. Remove and rest 5-minutes and serve with your favorite sides!
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Q: Can I grill these instead?
A: Yes of course! I would grill them at 400 for 20-25 minutes, keeping an eye they don't catch fire as the skin releases fat when it cooks.
Q: What can I use instead of rice vinegar?
A: I would suggest substituting it with some apple cider vinegar.
Q: Should I remove the bones to speed up the cook time?
A: No, the bones do require a longer cook time but they also keep the chicken nice and juicy!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy
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