While I was brainstorming ways to revise the recipe for pumpkin chicken thighs, I came up with a savorier flavor combination- miso, pumpkin, and honey. This trifecta is a complete umami extravaganza. The flavor is very comparable to Man-Pleasing Chicken. So, for everyone who wrote in asking whether they would like Man-Pleasing Chicken even though they don’t like mustard or maple syrup (the two key ingredients), my answer remains…yes, I still think you would. But if you don’t want to risk it, this recipe is a good alternative. If you also dislike pumpkin, miso, and honey, then you have my sincerest condolences. If I were forced to choose between the first iteration of pumpkin chicken thighs and this one, I would probably opt for the former because its flavor evolves more on the palate, while this one hits a single savory note. Still, it’s a damn good note.
To begin, preheat your oven to 450º F. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon of miso paste, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of chicken stock. You can find miso paste in your grocery store’s refrigerated section, sometimes near the tofu. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s, but I have also gotten it from Whole Foods before. Other uses- miso-sesame vinaigrette or carrot-ginger dressing!
Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with tin foil, and nestle in 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Sprinkle them with black pepper.
Pour all of the pumpkin sauce over the chicken thighs, making sure that they are fully coated on the tops and bottoms.
Bake the chicken thighs for 20 minutes. Then, remove them from the oven, and baste the tops of the thighs with the sauce from the baking dish.
Return the thighs to the oven, and bake them for another 20 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the tops of the thighs begin to brown. Allow the thighs to rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Remove the thighs from the baking dish, and set them on a serving plate. Whisk the sauce that remains in the baking dish until it is smooth and uniform. Spread the sauce on top of the chicken thighs.
Garnish the chicken thighs with sesame seeds and/or a generous amount of minced chives (not pictured). I think the chives will help balance the savory flavor, much like the rosemary does to Man-Pleasing Chicken. Enjoy this scrumptious beauty!
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs- 1 pound
- Pumpkin puree- 1/2 cup
- Miso paste- 1 tablespoon
- Honey- 2 tablespoons
- Rice vinegar- 1 tablespoon
- Chicken stock- 1 tablespoon
- Sesame seeds/chives