Citrusy, Pickley Chicken Thighs

January 25, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Carolina Gelen
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Chicken with oranges and pickles? I had never tried it either, but now I can’t wait to eat it again (and again). That’s the beauty of Recipe This or That, the Instagram series where you call the shots. In this month’s poll, our community selected the following ingredients for me to cook with: chicken thighs, mandarin oranges (such as tangerines or clementines), pickles, and rice. I ended up making a briny marinade for the chicken with orange juice, pickle juice, garlic, and spices (hi fennel seeds, hello turmeric). Including a little cornstarch helps the marinade grab hold and ensures tender meat. For chunky topping — cilantro! jalapeño! more oranges and pickles! — you’ll notice that I ask you to “supreme” the oranges. This is simple: Cut off the ends, stand the orange on your cutting board, then trim the peel from top to bottom. Now slice inside the white membranes to cut out neat citrus wedges. —Carolina Gelen

What You'll Need
  • Marinade & Chicken
  • 1/4 cup pickle brine
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated mandarin orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for searing
  • Topping & Serving
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup kosher dill pickle, finely chopped (⅓ cup)
  • 1 mandarin orange, supremed, plus juices squeezed from peels
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or mild vinegar (such as white wine or rice)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated mandarin orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  1. In a large bowl, stir together all the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken thighs, cover the bowl, and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
  2. When the chicken is done marinating, heat the oven to 425°F.
  3. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserving the marinade—we’ll be using it in a bit), pat dry, and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until deeply browned and the chicken releases easily from the pan. Flip the thighs and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, until golden.
  4. Turn off the heat, pour the marinade in the skillet, add ¼ cup of water, then transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 8 to 16 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients. Taste and adjust the salt if needed.
  6. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing. Serve over rice, with the topping spooned all over.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizzie Greene
    Lizzie Greene
  • Melissa Bartell
    Melissa Bartell
Carolina is a resident at Food52. She's also one of the hosts of Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure, our YouTube show where our Food52 readers pick the ingredients and techniques for a brand new recipe. Carolina recently immigrated to the U.S. from Transylvania, a place she spent most of her life. She continues to get inspired by the classic Romanian and Hungarian foods she was raised on, creating approachable, colorful, and fun recipes. For more cooking ideas and candid moments, check out her Instagram @carolinagelen.

2 Reviews

Lizzie G. February 2, 2022
Loved this! I actually would keep the jalapeño seeds. I think a little heat would be great with it.
Melissa B. January 30, 2022
So good! Used boneless, skinless thighs, added some chopped kale to the pan before putting it in the oven and served it over rice.