The Sweet Ingredient To Elevate Roast Chicken Thighs

A star protein for simple cast iron skillet suppers, chicken thighs are so simple to prepare, take on any flavor they're presented with, and make for a satisfying weeknight meal that tastes like the weekend. Made with several different variations and techniques, their versatility is another benefit. From Mediterranean-braised, Italian baked, and pan-fried, to saucy options such as garlic butter and honey mustard chicken thighs, you can tweak them exactly to your liking.

Thighs are part of the dark meat family, which yields an unspeakable amount of natural juiciness and tenderness. These qualities are amplified if you're cooking with skin-on chicken thighs, as the skin locks in the moisture and prevents overcooking. Furthermore, the skin adds an irresistible crispiness and fattiness into the mix. 

To take flavor even further, a sauce always helps. But while most chicken thigh dishes gravitate towards a savory sauce, there's one sweeter element that could really take your dish over the top.

Strawberry jam

While strawberries are typically a summer fruit, the jam in a jar is available at grocery stores year-round, and makes for a perfect sweet and tangy component to a savory dish. According to Kitchn, pairing them with balsamic is a match made in heaven, and throwing that combination into a chicken thigh skillet dish is even better. The sugar in the jam helps the thighs caramelize into a golden brown color, so they recommend avoiding any sugar-free jams. It's also best to find a brand of preserves that isn't too chunky, as big pieces of strawberries will prevent a silky smooth consistency. You can introduce this sweet component into marinades, cook it down into a savory glaze to brush on top of your meat, or simply pour it straight onto your chicken before baking.

While, like Kitchn, mixes strawberry jam with balsamic, they also incorporate soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper into the sauce of their recipe for Strawberry Jammed Chicken. Furthermore, you can swap out chicken thighs for chicken breasts like Mandy Jackson did in her Roasted Strawberry Chicken recipe.