It’s always very exciting when my friends publish cookbooks, but the new cookbook Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking by Jessica Gavin is one that I’m extra stoked about. You see, science is one of the reasons I love cooking and Jessica is a Certified Culinary Scientist, so her new book is full of all sorts of fun science-y extras to help you become a better and more intuitive cook. Jessica was kind enough to let me publish one of the recipes from the book, Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken, on my site, so I really hope it sparks some interest in you and you go check out the rest of the book. It’s one that I highly recommend for all new cooks, or those who just love the science behind cooking, like me. :) This is NOT a sponsored post, I’m just excited about it and I think you’ll love it!
Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken
But first a little about this book and why I think you should check it out. If you’re a new cook and you find yourself a little lost, Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking needs to be on your shelf. This is a beginners level look at the science behind different cooking techniques, tips for how and when the different cooking methods should be used, plus a collection of recipes for each method that are not only simple, but also elegant. Once you understand the why behind each cooking method, the how becomes so much more intuitive, and that’s how you become a good cook! Take a look at the table of contents to see all the subjects Jessica covers:
The recipe I chose to share is the Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken, which is a super simple slow cooker recipe that you could throw together before you go to work in the morning and have ready when you get home. This recipe highlights the science behind slow cooking, which is one of the moist heat cooking techniques. The low, slow, and moist cooking environment breaks down the fat and connective tissues in the bone-in chicken thighs to produce incredible flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The sugars from the honey caramelize in the slow cooker producing a wonderfully deep flavor and an almost candy-like quality in the chicken skin. It’s heaven. Pair this chicken with some cooked rice and steamed broccoli and you have the easiest meal prep ever!
Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken
- 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs* ($5.59)
- pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.08)
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce ($0.60)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce ($0.32)
- 1/3 cup honey ($0.64)
- 2 Tbsp hot water ($0)
- 1 tsp minced ginger ($0.10)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
- sesame seeds for garnish (optional) ($0.05)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro for garnish (optional) ($0.22)
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and sauté until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes). Flip the chicken and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, water, ginger, and garlic. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours, or low on low for 5-6 hours. Flip the chicken half-way through to make sure all of the chicken infuses with the sauce.
- To serve, spoon the chicken over a bed of rice, drizzle the sauce from the slow cooker over top, then garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro (if desired).
Step by Step Photos
Bone-in, skin-on chicken creates the best flavor for this recipe, although you can use boneless and skinless thighs or breasts. I used about 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. If using skin-on chicken, you’ll want to brown it first for maximum flavor, but you can skip this step if you’re using skinless chicken. Heat a large skillet on medium-high, then once hot add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Swirl to coat the surface of the skillet, then add the chicken pieces skin side down. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes more.
Place the browned chicken in the slow cooker.
To create the sauce, whisk together 1/3 cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger (I actually grated mine because it was frozen), four cloves of minced garlic, and 2 Tbsp hot water.
Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.
I made sure to get some of the sauce over the surface of each piece of chicken. The sauce will not completely cover the chicken, but that’s okay because you’ll flip the chicken half way through.
Cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours. Flip the chicken once half way through to make sure all of the meat gets infused with the awesome sauce. And keep in mind that if you’re using skinless white meat, like chicken breasts, you may need to cook for less time to prevent the meat from drying out.
To serve, spoon the chicken over a bed of rice, drizzle some of the sauce from the slow cooker over the chicken, then garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds (OMG I forgot my sesame seeds! 😭)
And THAT’S how easy cooking is when you know how and when to use the right technique. Seriously, check out this book and up your kitchen game. This one is definitely going on gift list for holidays and new grads. Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Jessica’s blog! She’s got a ton of great info and recipes online as well. :)