Chicken Thighs with Spicy Mustard-Orange Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

Chicken with Mustard Orange sauce (2)

“Orange Chicken”, as we call this at home, is an old favorite of ours because of the great sauce.  It combines the sweet, fresh flavors of orange juice and honey with the spiciness of grainy mustard, and a bit of chipotle pepper thrown in for warmth.  A good sauce transforms about anything into something special, even the humble chicken thigh.  Roasted broccoli is good for helping getting the last specks of sauce  – otherwise, you might be tempted to lick your plate.  [Go ahead, we’re not looking…]


  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs, with skin
  • 2 T olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (or more if you like more heat)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and saute until browned on both sides (especially the skin side).

Remove chicken from skillet and pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.  (Bonus Tip:  Toss some broccoli with some of the extra fat and roast it!  Mmm!)

Return skillet to medium-high heat and add minced garlic to pan.  Saute briefly (around 30 seconds), then add orange juice, mustard, chicken broth, rosemary, honey, and chipotle pepper.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Boil for a few minutes, whisking occasionally.

Reduce heat to low and return chicken to the pan.  Partially cover, and allow to simmer for around 20 minutes, until chicken is done.  Uncover and allow sauce to reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon.  (This may take about ten minutes.  You may need to turn the heat up to medium-low.)

Transfer chicken to plates; top with sauce and serve. 

A classic dish deserves a classic artist, and they don’t get much more so than Harry Nilsson. We watched the moving and loving film, Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? the other night. Highly, highly recommended look at the Beatles favorite artist, and one of the legendary songwriters and singers of our time.


And then I discovered one of his lps hiding in the stacks, and what a find it is. Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, which features “Everybody’s Talkin'”, “One”, and the incredible “Without Her”. This guy never got the credit he was due, either for his voice, or what he did with it. Timeless, beautiful creations.



8 thoughts on “Chicken Thighs with Spicy Mustard-Orange Sauce

    1. Chicken thighs are my favorites because the meat is so much juicier – it’s nearly impossible to overcook them! Also they have lots of skin to crisp up, and even the free-range, organic chicken thighs aren’t expensive. I like the breasts if I want pretty slices of meat for fajitas or salad, or for stuffing. By the way, I was thinking about chicken cordon bleu last night…and there it was on your blog when I checked it this morning! Culinary ESP, man! 🙂

  1. Absolutely amazing recipe! I used drumsticks since that’s what I had, and they were pretty much the most amazingly tender juicy meat with handles. Absolutely love the combo of all the flavors; they work perfectly together. Dinner was literally a plate licker. Thank goodness we don’t eat out more in public or my husband would truly be embarrassed.

  2. I have been accused of making food only as a vehicle for sauce, since otherwise I would just be drinking sauce (less socially acceptable). Thanks for the comment! You reminded us that we haven’t had this lately; will be making this again soon!

  3. I just sent the recipe to my mother-in-law telling her to make it ASAP. And yes, it’s quite hard to not just pour the sauce in a glass and sip it like a cocktail.

  4. This was awesome! I only had boneless skinless thighs but made it work. Started making the sauce first, threw in the raw chicken, sauteed a little bit, and then broiled the heck out of both sides until crisp-ish. Also used dried rosemary b/c thats what I had on hand. Def will be making this again, thanks!

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