You can never have too many chicken recipes – or at least that’s what I think. And I guess there are a lot of people who would agree. There are more chicken recipes on the web than anything else. It is the perfect meal for a family, inexpensive, easy to digest, and full of protein. Finding creative ways to cook it can be a lifetime hobby for many.
If you haven’t considered growing fresh herbs, you should. The flavor they give food is so much fresher and brighter than dried herbs. I do use both because they have different purposes, but when you can use fresh, they add a lot to a recipe. Because the flavor dissipates so quickly, add most fresh herbs at the end of the cooking time and sprinkle over the top. Bay leaf and rosemary are two that benefit from longer cooking and can be added at the beginning. I often add dried herbs at the beginning and finish with fresh, creating layers of flavor. My two favorite herbs to grow are rosemary and thyme (pronounced time). They are hardy and drought resistant which is a good thing because my mother’s green thumb didn’t get passed down to me! I always forget to water the plants. Thank goodness James loves gardening!
Rosemary is woody, dense and pungent. Be cautious if you are chopping the leaves (which look more like needles), because they will fly all over the kitchen. Thyme has a much more delicate flavor with tiny leaves. And there are lots of different ‘flavors’ of thyme which makes it fun to experiment with. The ones I like the best are French, Lemon and Orange thyme. After rinsing well, just throw the sprigs in. You’ll have to remember to find them and remove before serving your meal, but it is simpler to do this than to strip the stems. If you do want to strip the leaves, pinch the sprig at the top and pull down, opposite the direction the leaves grow. They will come right off.
I always like easy, make ahead recipes. You can assemble this a day ahead and bake later. After years of cooking and never writing anything down, I am finally documenting my recipes. This recipe came about when I had a little of this and a little of that in the refrigerator and I needed to make dinner. Isn’t that how most recipes get created? I love it when an experiment turns out to be delicious! It tastes much more elegant than it sounds. Pair it with a potato gratin and fresh green vegetables. Your guests will start calling you a gourmet chef!
If you are using smaller pieces of chicken, they may cook more quickly. Keep an eye on them and remove as they finish cooking. When done, you can add some chicken stock to the pan and reduce it for a delicious pan sauce. Serve this with brown rice to soak up all the wonderful juices. The chicken will finish cooking during the resting time. If you prefer, you can always use a thermometer. Pull chicken out of the oven at 160°F. While resting it should come up to between 165°F and 170°F. Use tongs to turn the chicken. If you use a fork and pierce the meat, you will lose the juices that keep the chicken moist and tender.
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves or jam (or other favorite flavor)
- 2 tsp vermouth or white wine
- 1 chicken, cut into quarters
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- About 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the preserves and vermouth. Set aside. Rinse chicken pieces in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in bowl with preserves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add onion, garlic, and rosemary. Toss with your hands until everything is evenly coated. Arrange in a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- The dish can be made ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to one day in advance. Return to room temperature before continuing.
- Place chicken in preheated oven and loosely set a piece of foil over the top. Cook for 20 minutes and then remove foil. Continue roasting until chicken pieces are browned, cooked through and no longer pink, about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, covered, before serving.