Drizzle the spicy-sweet nectar all over crispy, flavorful chicken legs.

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated January 30, 2020
John Kernick

Hot honey is one of those put-on-anything condiments that instantly upgrades whatever it touches. Pizza with soppressata? Check. Brussels sprouts? Absolutely.  Creamy ricotta toast? You’re missing out if you don’t.

In our February 2020 issue, we found another home for the spicy-sweet nectar—crispy roast chicken. Associate food editor Kelsey Youngman creates a homemade version via a double boiler and drizzles it over chicken legs, adding on toasted pecans and thinly sliced radishes for crunch. The comforting, indulgent dish is perfect for weekends—plus, you can use the leftover honey for all kinds of other recipes. See our step-by-step guide and key tips below, and get the recipe here.

Pre-season the chicken…

Take four chicken leg quarters and season them with a mixture of salt, black pepper, and cardamom. 

…and let it rest

Place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet—skin side up—and let them sit, either for an hour at room temperature or chilled for eight hours/overnight. This ensures flavorful, juicy meat. 

Make the hot honey

While you heat one inch of water on the stove, combine the wildflower honey, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, orange peel strips, and thyme in a heatproof glass bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it over the heated water—make sure the bowl and the water don’t touch. Let the honey sit for an hour.

Strain it

After the honey has become infused, it still needs needs to come to room temperature. Once it does, put it through a fine wire-mesh strainer to remove the orange peel strips, thyme, and any other solids.

Cook the chicken 

You’ll want the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with a rack placed in the upper third. Cook the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dress it up 

Each serving of chicken should be drizzled with about three tablespoons of the hot honey, as well as three tablespoons of pecans, one tablespoon of radish slices, and one tablespoon of edible flowers.

If you don’t have edible flowers, don’t sweat it

The edible flowers are a gorgeous finish to the dish, and also nicely complement the wildflower honey. But if you aren’t able to get them, it won’t hurt anything.

Make a meal out of it

Youngman recommends picking up a nice, crusty loaf of sourdough when you make this recipe, so you can sop up all of the spicy honey and chicken juices. (Butter it for added flavor.) A crisp, bitter endive salad would juxtapose beautifully with the sweet-spicy chicken—roasted sweet potato wedges and a massaged kale salad are a good option, too.

Don’t forget the wine

If you plan on having a drink with dinner, a fruit-forward Zinfandel would be your best bet.

Save every last drop

Should you have any leftover sauce, save it and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Beyond the chicken, it can also add a punch of flavor to cheese plates, and, our favorite, pizza.

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