Clementine-Soy Chicken Thighs

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

For some reason, we always celebrated Chinese New Year when I was a kid. I don’t know why, but I always looked forward to it. It was so fun, and we didn’t eat Chinese nearly as often back then as we do now. Mom would take out the electric wok and cook dinner right on the table – usually a chicken stir fry. The next night, we’d wrap the leftovers in tortillas and eat them as fajitas. Yum.

I made this clementine-soy glazed chicken a few weeks ago and thought it would be the perfect Chinese New Year post. But then I started researching and apparently I had it all wrong. The holiday has all sorts of food traditions, like eating noodles to bring long life and dumplings to bring wealth. And apparently serving a chicken or duck whole represents health, but serving it cut – like these thighs – is the opposite. Oops.

Oh well. This dish is delicious any time of the year, and you should definitely make it (if you’re superstitious or prefer to celebrate the New Year more traditionally, just wait until tomorrow.)

I almost always have a crate of clementines sitting on my counter this time of year, but they go bad quicker than I can eat them so I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for cooking with them. I’ve found that roasting them concentrates their flavor and makes them super juicy! For this dish, I roasted them along with some chicken thighs, then used the juice in an Asian-inspired sauce. The chicken was great, with a perfectly crispy skin stretched over juicy meat, but the sauce was really the highlight of the dish. It was delicate and tangy, with a slight hint of perfume from the citrus. It was delicious spooned over the chicken, but even better mixed into the red quinoa that I served on the side. Thanks to the sauce, I’d say it was some of the best quinoa I’ve ever eaten.


Clementine-Soy Glazed Chicken Thighs

Serves 4.
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Total Time: 45 minutes
Tucking aromatics under the skin and roasting them at a high temperature gives these citrusy chicken thighs a delicately crispy skin while keeping the meat moist and succulent. This recipe is a great way to use up clementines that are on their last legs but, if you prefer, you can substitute tangerines or naval oranges –  simply adjust the amount so that you have enough to give you about 1/4 cup of juice. 
I like to serve this dish with sautéed bok choy and plenty of wild rice or quinoa to soak up the etra sauce.


  • 4 (about 1 pound) Bone-In Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Tablespoon minced Shallot
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Clementines, halved
  • 1 Tbs + 1 teaspoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sake or White Wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 450*F. Place the chicken thighs in a small baking dish with sides (I used a 9-inch cake pan). Gently slide your fingers between the meat and the skin to separate it. Combine the shallot, garlic and ginger and run it into the meat, beneath the loosened skin. Rub the skin with olive oil and season with black pepper. Tuck the clementines around the chicken, cut sides up. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Pour off any fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Remove 4 clementine halves from the pan and juice them into a small bowl. Whisk in the soy sauce, brown sugar, and sake. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and return to the oven. Roast for another 15 minutes, spooning the sauce over the chicken 2 or 3 times.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and place them on a plate. Tent with foil to keep them warm. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then let reduce by half – about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve the chicken thighs with the reduced sauce and a roasted clementine half.

Approx. 275 calories, 17.4 grams fat, 8.5 grams carbohydrates, 0.6 grams fiber, 20 grams protein



  1. I’ve always loved citrusy sauce with my Chinese food, so I’m sure I’d adore this! I rarely ever order in and this would be a real treat!

  2. I’m sure cutting your chicken won’t jinx you! This looks so tasty! I love a good citrus and ginger meal. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love the combination of orange and soy. So easy and yummy!

  4. Happy Lunar New Year to you too – the recipe looks delish!

  5. I have an abundance of oranges right now (honeybell) and I was planning on making chicken thighs this week, so I think I’ll do a variation on this. Can’t wait!

  6. hmm – such a delicious flavor combination.

  7. So glad we discovered your blog. Wonderful recipes and fantastic photos.

    Minted Magazine

  8. Oh my goodness this chicken looks amazing!!

  9. Neil | Butterfield says:

    Sounds awesome! Is there any particular reason why you use bone in? I find that filleted chicken is better value as there is no bone or fat.

    • I chose bone-in because I really wanted the crispy skin for this recipe and that seems to be the only way you can buy chicken that still has skin. hey also take a little longer to cook than filleted chicken, which gives the flavor of the clementines more time to concentrate.

  10. Thanks so much for the article post.Really thank you! Great.

  11. This is perfect! I have some clementines that need to be used up, too!

  12. This is a fabulous Asian inspired dish. I think everyone could use a recipe that will put those cute little clementines to work.

  13. These look fantastic! Great photos as well I want to lick my screen! So glad I found your blog ;)

  14. Love the look and sound of this dish!

  15. Looks awesome, LOVE the photos!

  16. Citrus and chicken are so good together, love the Asian inspiration!

  17. Can you provide us with the quinoa dish also?

  18. Made this tonight, hope to feature it on my own blog. Waiting for hubby to get home so I can eat!

  19. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the longer term and it’s time to be
    happy. I’ve read this put up and if I may I desire to counsel you some fascinating issues or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article. I want to learn even more issues approximately it!

  20. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts says:

    Thanks for giving me the link to include in my upcoming Band Fruit Fundraiser Recipe Round Up! It will be published on 12/4/2013!


  1. [...] Today’s featured end-of-winter recipe is Lauren’s Clementine-Soy Chicken Thighs. [...]

  2. [...] 5. Clementine-Soy Chicken Thighs – I’m honestly surprised to see this recipe in my top 5, but it’s place there isn’t unwarranted. The bright burst of citrus is welcome in the dreary winter months, and it’s a great way to use up the last of that crate of clementines that I bet you have on the counter. [...]

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