Marinate Chicken in Leftover Onion Sauce

Some would argue that there is no such thing as “onion sauce leftovers,” but running out of chips is a real disaster, and it can leave you with a surplus of food. I faced such a crisis last night: because I ran out of chips, I had a small amount of extra sauce left – just a few tablespoons – but still too much to throw away. So, I spread the chicken thigh with the bonus sauce and left it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Although the act was impulsive, it was not unprecedented. I have long been a fan of marinating chicken in dairy products, especially labnau and buttermilk, and have a history of using onion sauce other than dipping . This particular sauce consisted mostly of sour cream, which is similar to a labne, but it also had some mayonnaise, some MSG, and of course some aromatic onions added to it. Through their combination of properties, these ingredients made the chicken thigh juicy and tender, with a dark crust filled with umami: the lactic acid in the sour cream softened, the mayonnaise helped to form the crust, and MSG and onions added flavor. It was good and I will do it again.

You don’t need to use onion sauce for the marinade, and it doesn’t matter if it contains mayonnaise; any dairy-based sauce will do. Just spread enough to cover the chicken pieces, let it marinate for a couple of hours (or better yet, overnight), then wipe off the excess before cooking (pieces that sticky like onions will catch on fire, so knock them off with a paper towel) … Regardless of how you cook the chicken it will do, but I like pan-frying so I don’t have to turn on the oven. Simply heat a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat, then saute the chicken until deep golden brown with small charred spots here and there. There is no need to add extra oil to the pan as the chicken is already well greased, although you can rub a little oil on the pan if you are paranoid. If the chicken sticks to the pan, resist the urge to pull it away from the metal and just wait – it will separate as soon as a delicious crust forms.


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