Caramel Chicken Thighs

What could be better than tender chicken thighs with crispy skin, glazed with a spicy chipotle-ginger caramel sauce? This recipe will make plenty of caramel, so there will be some left over for the next time around.

Oct 8 2017, 7:00pm

"In the restaurant, we smoke the thighs until soft and then finish on the grill, but this might not be all that feasible at home."

Servings: 3-6
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes


1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1/4 cup Coca-Cola
3/4 cup good quality cider vinegar
small handful of fennel and coriander seeds
1 star anise
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, freshly grated
3 1/2 ounces chipotle in adobo, drained
6 free-range bone-in chicken thighs


1. Preheat your oven to 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit). In a pan, combine the water and sugar. Over medium heat, heat the sugar-water until it forms a deep golden caramel. Be patient as it will take a while for the sugar syrup to reduce to a deep caramel, about 13 minutes.

2. In a separate pan, while the caramel is cooking, bring the Coca-Cola, cider vinegar, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, and ginger to a boil. When the caramel is ready, add this mixture to the caramel, but be careful not to stand over it as the rapidly evaporating vinegar will be pretty unpleasant. Rapidly boil this mixture for 1 minute, then remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a blender, blitz the chipotle with the caramel liquid until well-combined, and then pass through a chinois. Set aside.

4. Lay the chicken thighs on a roasting tray and bake until just softening. Internal temperature should be 167°F|75°C.

5. Remove from the oven and cook skin-side-down on the grill (or plancha) until the skin is deep golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Liberally brush the thighs with the caramel and eat immediately.