Miso Chicken Lickety-Split

You have to love a recipe that has only half a dozen ingredients, most of which are probably already in your kitchen.
You have to love a recipe that has only half a dozen ingredients, most of which are probably already in your kitchen.

At the start of this nearly 1,000-page tome, you are instructed not to use this book for the following three things:

For academic research. For dieting. Or for a doorstop.

You have to to love a cookbook that announces itself with such honesty and presence. And “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2021), of which I received a review copy, certainly does.

It was written by former Times’ food writer and food editor, Amanda Hesser, who went on to co-found Food52.

It’s actually an updated version of the original book that came out in 2010.

Hesser took on the challenge to once again wade through the Times’ immense 150-year-old archives. This time around, she also called upon the expertise of cooks of color to add more global recipes, including ones from Nigeria, Tibet, Thailand, and China.

In the process, she ended up jettisoning 65 former recipes in the book and adding instead 120 new ones that are more culturally diverse. She includes the date each recipe appeared, too, providing a fascinating look at how our tastes and techniques have changed or stayed the same.

The recipes range from “Craig Claiborne’s Swiss Fondue” (1956), “Palestine Soup” (1880), and “Leek and Shiitake Bread Pudding” (1999) to “Chile Crisp Dumplings” (2021), “Turducken” (2002), and “Pierre Herme’s Chocolate Sables” (2004).

Hesser also uses a swath of shadow to highlight the recipes that she, herself, enjoyed so much that she still makes them time and again.

“Miso Chicken” is one of those favorite recipes. It’s easy to see why because it’s so simple, and can be made in a flash with ingredients you most likely almost always have on hand already.

The miso-butter-honey mixture gets stirred together in seconds.
The miso-butter-honey mixture gets stirred together in seconds.

Best yet, there’s no need to marinate the chicken thighs for any length of time. You just mix together softened butter, miso, honey, rice vinegar, and black pepper. Massage it into the chicken, then roast until done.

I garnished with sliced green onions, just because I had some on hand.

The chicken cooks up fabulously juicy and caramelized with deep contrasting flavors of sweet and salty, plus a big hit of umami.

Serve with steamed rice and sauteed green veggies, and you’re good to go.

No doubt, just as for Hesser, this recipe will become your new no-brainer go-to.

Make it once, and you'll be hooked.
Make it once, and you’ll be hooked.

Miso Chicken

(Serves 4)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup white miso

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (not seasoned)

Freshly ground black pepper

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the butter, miso, honey, rice vinegar, and pepper to taste in a large bowl and mix with a rubber spatula or spoon until well combined.

Add the chicken to the bowl and massage the miso-butter mixture all over it. Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan and slide it into the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once or twice, until the skin is golden brown and crisp and the internal temperature of the thickest part of a thigh is 165 degrees. Serve.

From “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser

More Miso Recipes to Enjoy: Hummus with White Miso

And: Creamy Grits with Blistered Tomatoes, Pickled Serrano Chiles, and Sunflower-Miso Tahini

And: Creamy Miso Pasta with Shrimp

And: Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta

And: Chile Miso Pork Stew by Ming Tsai

And: Miso-Pork Stuffed Eggplant

And: Romaine Hearts with Miso-Mustard Dressing

And: Miso-Glazed Fish

And: Miso Soup with Halibut

And: Charred Cabbage with Miso and Lime

And: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

And: Miso Butter Onions by Yotam Ottolenghi

And: Broiled Tofu Miso

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4 comments

  • I don’t use miso nearly often enough in my cooking. In fact, I don’t have any on hand right now — so I need to pick some up next time I’m at the store. So I can make this. 🙂 Sounds like a terrific recipe, and a must-have cookbook. Thanks!

  • Hi John: I always keep at least one kind of miso in the fridge. It comes in handy for so many things. Enjoy the chicken dish! 😉

  • Sounds like another winner! I’ve got everything but the chicken on hand & ready to go. Soon, very soon!

  • Hi Carroll: I predict you will love it, and make it again and again. Enjoy!

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