When my daughter, Alex, created a recipe for chicken with spicy cheese sauce, she went the extra mile, so to speak, and used three kinds of cheese instead of just one. The effect was quite lovely — the cream cheese gave the sauce a thick creamy base, the cheddar provided a surprising sharpness and the spiced havarti delivered just the right kick.
Will other cheese varieties do? Sure, but the flavor of the sauce will vary with your choice. Whatever cheese or cheeses you decide to use, you’ll need a total amount of 250 to 300 grams.
The rest of the seasonings in this dish will surprise many — vinegar and soy sauce are not traditionally paired with dairy but, if you think about all those Filipino adobo dishes with coconut milk in it, then, the combination of vinegar and soy sauce with cheese starts to make sense. The result is like sour cream but with deeper flavor because of the soy sauce. The sauce was so delicious that we saved the leftover and tossed cooked pasta in it the next day.
Alex’s chicken with spicy cheese sauce can be cooked with bone-in or boneless chicken thighs but, boneless or bone-in, you don’t want the chicken to be skinless. You want the rendered fat from the skin in which to brown the meat.
- 6 chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon plain mustard
- 1/4 cup milk
- 100 grams cream cheese
- 100 grams shredded sharp cheddar
- 100 grams shredded spiced havarti
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.
Heat a non-stick frying pan. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and cayenne powder. Cook over high heat until the skins are lightly browned. Flip to brown the opposite side.
Scoop out the chicken. Pour off the oil.
Return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the vinegar, soy sauce and mustard. Stir gently. Cover the pan tightly and let the chicken braise for 20 to 25 minutes.
Place the cream cheese in a microwavable bowl. Pour in the milk. Heat in the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir to blend the cream cheese with the milk completely.
When the chicken is done, pour in the cream cheese mixture. Add the cheddar and havarti. Cover the pan and cook for another five minutes until the cheeses melt and form a pool of creamy sauce around the chicken thighs.
Sprinkle with more paprika and some snipped scallions before serving.