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Ginger Chicken Thighs with Parsnips

Serves 4, as a main course


2 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in dark chicken meat)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 large parsnips
4 celery stalks
5 sprigs fresh thyme

©2010 Ming Tsai - from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals used with permission from Kyle Books


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Season the thighs with the salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy roasting pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the thighs skin side down. Brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Transfer the thighs to a platter and set aside.

Prepare the parsnips and celery: peel and roll-cut into 1-inch lengths or cut conventionally.

Add the remaining oil to the pan, swirl, and heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, ginger, parsnips, celery and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and sauté the vegetables, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Top with the thighs, skin side up, and bake uncovered until the chicken and vegetables are done, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter or four individual serving plates and serve.

Did you know?

The reason onions cause cooks to tear so readily at very low concentrations of volatile molecules is that the cornea of the eye has 600 times the density of nerve endings compared to the skin.  The tearing effect of onions can be lessened by placing them in a freezer for 10 minutes or in a refrigerator for 1 hour before peeling or chopping.

What is the difference between dark and white meat? Dark chicken meat, such as found in the thigh and leg is made of so-called slow-twitch muscles that contain high amounts of the dark-colored protein called myoglobin that can store energy for sustained activity. In contrast, white meat such as found in chicken breast is made of fast-twitch muscles used for quick bursts of activity.

Dark chicken meat contains Vitamin K2 (menaquinone), which possesses antiangiogenic activity. K2 is different from common dietary Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) found in leafy green vegetables. K2 is made by intestinal bacteria and is present in meat, cheese, and egg yolks. In a 2006 USDA study, Vitamin K2 was found detected at much higher levels in chicken than in beef and not present in fish.

A study published in 2008 by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) found that increased dietary vitamin K2 from meat and dairy products may reduce risk of prostate cancer by 35%. Vitamin K2 supplementation has been observed in a pilot study to reduce the risk of developing liver cancer by over 87% in patients predisposed to develop the cancer due to cirrhosis.

Thyme is second only to cloves in total phenolic content which convey antiangiogenic and cancer-fighting properties.

Thymol in thyme has been found to increase the amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid in the brain of experimental animals, and along with other studies, suggested that thyme may improve brain function in the elderly and among children with attention deficit disorders.


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