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The Speckled Palate
October 29, 2018

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with Crispy Kale (Paleo)

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These Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs served with a side of Crispy Kale make for the perfect healthy paleo dinner recipe. Serve this easy skillet chicken recipe on busy weeknights.

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs served one a white plate with a side of Crispy Kale Today’s maternity leave guest post comes from my friend, Cheryl, from 40 Aprons. Cheryl and I were fast friends when we connected through our blogs years ago, marveling at the fact that we’re from the same town, have run in some of the same circles… and yet every time I’m visiting my family, she’s out of town with hers.

One day, we shall meet!

Three and a half years ago, Cheryl shared her Vegetarian Shiitake Gyoza here for my first maternity leave.

And I’m really excited to share her this chicken and kale recipe with y’all because it is the PERFECT kind of dinner that’s comforting and delicious and filling for this time of year. And even though I don’t eat a strictly paleo diet, it’s certainly something I can get behind.

Swing on by Cheryl’s blog to see what else she’s been cooking up recently, and leave her some love there! And now, without further ado… – Erin

The pan searing and oven roasting method produces the most tender chicken thighs with super crispy skin.

Hey Speckled Palate fam! It’s Cheryl from 40 Aprons, here to share a super easy and healthy honey garlic chicken thighs recipe while my good friend Erin enjoys all the newborn snuggles.

In fact, I’m writing this from the past (SPOOKY) myself, while I enjoy my own newborn snuggles!

Erin and I have been blog friends for years, even though we actually grew up in the same town and had several friends in common. We never met until our blogs crossed paths (And hey, we’ve never actually formally met anyway!), and we’ve been buds ever since. Don’t you just love her?!

So, let’s talk paleo honey garlic chicken thighs (with crispy kale!).

If I had to name you my all-time-favorite chicken recipes, these easy Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs would easily make the top three. I love this recipe because it is really simple and requires only a skillet and a couple of ingredients that I have in my pantry anyway!

As a food blogger, I often get inspired by outstanding dishes I eat at restaurants and once at home, I love to put my own spin on them. For instance, I created these Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs after a meal of crispy kale drenched in a sweet and bright honey-lemon sauce I had in Chicago. Even while I was eating it, I was thinking to myself how well this would go with chicken thighs.

Let’s talk about chicken thighs for a moment! Being the star of this easy skillet dinner we want to make sure our chicken is perfectly cooked!

Good thing I found a fool-proof method to get the most tender chicken thighs with perfect, crispy skin. I wrote a whole blog post on this method over at Perfect Pan Seared Chicken Thighs, and I use this recipe pretty much whenever I have the opportunity. It’s so simple and delivers perfect results every single time!

As for sides, I decided to serve these Honey Garlic Chicken thighs with a side of oven-baked Crispy Kale and it really takes this paleo dinner to the next level. They are a delicious and healthy way to get your crispy-salty fix and the kale just goes so well with the sweet and bright honey garlic sauce.

Why this recipe works:

  • This honey garlic chicken thigh recipe comes together in less than 40 Minutes, making it the perfect back pocket recipe for busy weeknights.
  • The pan searing and oven roasting method produces the most tender chicken thighs with super crispy skin.
  • The combination of garlic, honey, lemon juice and coconut aminos, makes the most incredible sweet and sticky sauce.
  • Crispy kale is the perfect healthy and low carb accompaniment to this recipe

Close-up of Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs served with a side of crispy kale

Cooking Tips and Tricks:

  • Don’t move your chicken thighs when searing them skin-side down. This way, you get the perfect golden brown and crispy skin!
  • Rinse kale leaves under cold running water and let them dry thoroughly! To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling the kale with lemon juice can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration.
  • For extra crispy kale, do not overcrowd your baking sheets.  Kale will cook best when evenly spread out.

Variations:

  • Use boneless skinless chicken breasts. You won’t need to finish roasting them in the oven. Just sear them in a large skillet with a teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat for a total of 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Add a variety of other veggies, from bell pepper to mushrooms, for an even healthier dish.
  • Swap the lemon juice for lime juice and add a grating of fresh ginger to add a Caribbean twist to this dish!

Different angle of Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs served one a white plate with a side of Crispy Kale

How do I get perfectly cooked, tender chicken thighs with a crispy skin?

For especially tender chicken and crispy skin, I recommend quickly brining your chicken before making these Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs. Try my quick chicken brine recipe. It only takes a couple hours to brine the chicken and produces the juiciest chicken with the crispiest skin you could ever wish for.

Brining also makes your chicken more forgiving if you leave it in the oven for a tiny bit too long. Even overcooked, it will still be juicy and tender if it’s brined! Make sure you fully air-dry or pat dry the chicken thighs after brining for super crispy skin.

Can I leave out the coconut aminos when making the Honey Garlic Sauce?

Coconut aminos are a healthy replacement for soy sauce. Much like soy sauce, they add umami flavor to dressings and sauces. The sweet and salty coconut aminos really add a lot of flavor to our Honey Garlic Pan Sauce.

If you can’t find it locally, you can try a homemade substitution using this recipe!

The pan searing and oven roasting method produces the most tender chicken thighs with super crispy skin.

How to make this recipe for Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

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The method for cooking the chicken is pretty important, but it’s also really straightforward.

Heat some ghee in a small oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken thighs in your pan skin-side down and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the skin is crispy, golden brown and releases easily from the pan. Transfer the cooked chicken thighs to the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Wash and dry your kale and cut it into 1” strips. Rub a tablespoon of ghee into the kale strips and distribute them evenly between two baking sheets.

Retrieve the chicken thighs from the oven and transfer the meat onto a plate to rest.

Now, bake the kale for about 9 minutes until crispy.

Then make the honey-garlic sauce: Take your hot skillet and pour off all but a tablespoon of fat, then return the skillet to your stove and place it over low heat. Add minced garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients for the honey garlic sauce, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook your sauce until nicely thickened and reduced by half, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve your Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with Crispy Kale immediately and enjoy!

Pinterest graphic of Paleo Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with Crispy Kale, featuring a close-up image and Pinterest text

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with Crispy Kale (Paleo)
Yield: 2 people

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with Crispy Kale (Paleo)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Serve these tender Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs with a side of crispy kale for a simple yet delicious meal! The best thing? This skillet recipe is easy to make, healthy and paleo! 

Ingredients

Chicken Thighs

  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Crispy Kale

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 5 cups kale, washed, dried, and sliced into 1” strips
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Honey-Garlic Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat ghee in a small oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and carefully place them in your skillet skin-side down and cook for 7-8 minutes or until skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pan. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rub ghee into kale and distribute evenly between two baking sheets. Sprinkle salt on top of the kale.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken thighs from the oven and place the meat on a plate to rest.
  5. Put the kale baking sheets into the oven and bake at 375ºF for about 9 minutes.
  6. Make the honey-garlic sauce: Be very careful from this point on working with the skillet and always use a potholder to handle it! Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat, then return the skillet to stove and place over low heat. Add minced garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining sauce ingredients, increase the heat, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat further and cook the sauce until thickened and reduced by half, for about 5-10 minutes. Serve kale and chicken thighs with the honey garlic sauce.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 595 Total Fat: 28g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 190mg Sodium: 1490mg Carbohydrates: 58g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 41g Protein: 38g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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