Baked Onion Chicken Thighs with Umeboshi and Shiso


  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for the baking dish
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • sea salt
  • fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 10 umeboshi, pitted
  • 20 shiso leaves, chopped, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • splash of sake
  • 1 pound (450g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Serves 2 or 3

Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) and shiso is a natural and traditional combination in Japan (especially in sushi), but the sauteed onions blended into the mixture give it a new and satisfying depth that permeates the chicken. Wonderful with hot rice, miso soup, and a small flask of chilled sake.


Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). In a heavy skillet over high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the onion, and liberally salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Place the onion in the blender and add the umeboshi, shiso, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and blend (also add as much sake as the blender needs to do its work). Reserve about 3 tablespoons of this mixture in a small bowl.

In the same skillet, heat up the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil over maximum heat and fry the chicken until brown spots begin to appear. Transfer the chicken and the blended onion mixture to a large bowl and mix.

Apply or spray some olive oil to a baking dish, transfer the chicken to it, and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, mix the reserved sauce through it, and return it to the oven for another few minutes before serving.

Serve on a warm plate, topped off with the chopped shiso.

Recipe source

Reprinted with permission from the book:

The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen

by Eric Gower

Kodansha International

The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen is a coup d'etat. Its elegant, easily prepared, and highly original dishes combine Japanese and Western elements in ways that produce completely new tastes.

Author and chef Eric Gower artfully uses staple ingredients and seasonings from Japanese cooking - like edamame, shiitake, ginger, and soy sauce - in his own unique contemporary style. His dishes are born of a passion for good home-cooked food and experimentation over fifteen years spent living in Japan.

Each recipe expresses Gower's innovative approach: effortless blending of Japanese cuisine with that of other countries (particularly Italy), minimalist presentation, emphasis on time saving, and a playful, free, and joyous approach to the making of great food.



Source: The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
by Eric Gower
Copyright (c) 2003 by Eric Gower. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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