Category Archives: chicken

Meyer Lemon Chicken

Hello friends!

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I try to avoid doing is stopping in at the grocery store on my way home.  “Oh, I’ll just pop in and pick up ____” I innocently think.


“Did you find everything ok?” the nice cashier will inevitably ask as I struggle to hoist my overloaded basket up on the conveyor belt.  Little do they know I probably went in for one or two items, and walked out with a basket full of items I may or (more likely) may not need.  While I’m very grateful to have a plethora of grocery stores in every direction, the reality is I could benefit from streamlining my shopping and cooking process.

Enter Sprout! This Vancouver-based company popped onto the grocery delivery scene and has a goal of helping fix the food chain.  They have established partnerships with local farmers, and – through their innovative business model – have found a way to get local food to hungry consumers (like me! and probably like you!) in a way that’s never been done before.  With a no food waste practice, door stop delivery, and top notch products, I knew this was something I could get behind.

I was fortunate enough to receive a mystery bag of goodies from the friendly folks at Sprout, and carte blanche to play around.  Let’s get cooking!



One of the ingredients in my mystery bag was boneless skinless chicken breasts.  A weeknight special for many busy households, I knew I could go in 4872+ different directions…but sometimes simple is best.  I had a few Meyer lemons in the fridge, and half of a bunch of parsley…so Meyer lemon chicken it was!

No recipe per-say, but here’s the method I used if you want to follow along in your kitchen (or mine, if you’re free and want to come cook me dinner. Ha!)

I pounded the chicken breasts and cut them so they’d cook faster, then dredged them in seasoned flour.  I did a quick pan fry just to get some surface colour, and then let them hang out on their own plate for a few minutes.  No need to wait for them to fully cook at this stage in the game, as they’ll have a chance to finish cooking later.


To the same pan the chicken was browning in, I added one thinly sliced onion and a Meyer lemon.  I took out most of the seeds, but left a few in for whimsy.

Side note: have you ever had a Meyer lemon? They’re the best.  If you can’t find them, a regular lemon will work just fine – you just might want to add an extra squeeze or two of honey since Meyer’s are much sweeter than other varieties.

I also added a few minced cloves of garlic, because – why not?!


Once the onion and lemons were starting to get soft, I put the chicken back on top, and deglazed the pan with some chicken stock. Smelling good!


I then added the zest and juice of another Meyer lemon, a squeeze of honey, and another splash of chicken stock.  After 10 minutes with the lid on, the chicken was fully cooked but still tender.


Cooked, but not done.  Many one-pot wonders benefit tremendously from a knob of butter, an extra squeeze of lemon or lime, and some fresh herbs at the end to brighten up the sauce.

Once I had tasted the sauce for seasoning, I plated the dish up over some steamed rice.


The lemons almost melted into the sauce, which was both sweet and sour.  It was declared a winner, and it was on the table in less time than it would have taken me to stop at the store and pick up food on my way home.

Life changing!


Indian Coconut Chicken Curry

Have you ever seen Hoarders or Extreme Couponing?  I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I have seen a few episodes of both shows in my day.  As a sidenote, I’ve found it to be quite effective to clean out your closet while watching Hoarders, but that’s another blog post for another time.  While I’m far from a (true) Hoarder or Couponer, I often occasionally find myself stockpiling things…because, well, you just never know when you might need 23 bottles of mustard.  What can I say, I like a good deal.

Can I let you in on a little secret? I think I may have a tendency towards being a pantry and condiment hoarder.  For reasons 90% of you will probably never understand, I sleep better at night if I have 32 types* of rice in the pantry and 59 opened jars* of random stuff things I can’t live without in my fridge.  The great thing about this is that I seldom have to run out to the grocery store for a teaspoon of something, but the downside is that I run out of storage if I’m not careful.  In my defense, I only have 1 fridge, do not have a deep freezer, and avoid Costco like the plague.  See if you can figure that one out!

(Actual numbers may vary; numbers are for illustrative purposes only).

I felt desperate inspired tonight to use up a few random odds and sods and call them dinner.  I had a few chicken thighs to use up, along with a wilting bunch of cilantro and an apple that was as big as a cats head.  A few more ingredients joined in, and dinner was served.  It was SO good that I wanted to share it with all of you, so I hope you enjoy 🙂

The cast of characters:


Skinless chicken thighs (I suppose you could leave the skin on if you’re not watching your girlish figure), onion, bell peppers (whatever colours you want, except for green since they’re horrendous), garlic, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, chili powder, tumeric, mango chutney, coconut milk, lime, cilantro, and an apple.

Let’s get started, shall we?

I’m all about multi-tasking, so I figured that as long as I had to spend a few minutes chopping vegetables I might as well make the chicken do some work.  I made a quick spice rub (tumeric, chili powder, cinnamon, curry powder, salt and pepper) and massaged the chicken thighs until they were good and relaxed.


Now, I know what some of you are wondering: why chicken thighs? Why not chicken breasts? Well folks, without going into details of my life over the last few months, lets just say that I’ve eaten a lot of chicken breasts for the last 126 days.  I mean, a LOT.  While I like chicken, I think I reached the point where I maxed out on boneless skinless chicken breasts.   Sure, they’re quick, convenient, and healthy, but sometimes a girl just needs to change things up, you know? However, if you have not eaten your lifetime supply of boneless skinless chicken breasts yet and you’d prefer to use them, knock yourself out.  Not literally of course; I don’t want to be responsible for that.  If you’d rather use tofu…well, then maybe you SHOULD knock yourself out first; it will be less painful for all of us that way.

Oh wait, what’s that? You’re wondering how this would taste with bacon?  Well, I don’t have too much to say about that except I’m not married, and open to proposals.

Moving on…

Chop up your veggies – I had 3 peppers in my fridge so I used a bit of each, along with a small-ish onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a knob of ginger.


Set the veggies aside, and go put your feet up for another 10 minutes or so.  Go on, you deserve it!

Heat up a touch of oil (in a pan that has a lid, ideally), and brown the chicken thighs on both sides.  Smelling good in here!


Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the onions and peppers into the pan. Saute them for a few minutes to soften them up, then add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or so.


See all those brown bits? Those are FLAVOUR so don’t you dare wash your pan now!

Add the chicken back in, along with the browned chicken thighs, some coconut milk, water, and mango chutney.  Bring everything to a boil then reduce it to a simmer for a few minutes while you chop an apple and zest a lime.


I used a gigantic Fuji apple, because 2 weeks ago I bought a 5-lb bag of them and then discovered that they do not even come close to comparing to my beloved Pink Ladies.   Seemed like a good idea at the time…

All together now!


Simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.  Before you go put your feet up again though, make sure you make a pot of basmati rice to soak up all of the wonderful juices!

Bonus points if you make coconut basmati rice.

After 20-ish minutes, the chicken should be cooked so go ahead and chop up a few tablespoons of cilantro (from the wilting $0.79 bunch that you’re prepared to go to heroic lengths to use up) and toss it in.


Get a spoon and taste for seasonings.  Are you happy with it?  Dip your spoon in again just to double-check.  Repeat as much as necessary.

Are you ready to eat yet?!?!  I know I sure am!

Serve up the chicken on a bed of spinach (if you’re feeling healthy) and that basmati rice that is ready to go.


Hungry yet?

Here’s another one, just to whet your appetite:


I know I was.  So I didn’t take a mid-meal shot, but I knew you’d understand.

Especially after you make this for yourself, dish up a steaming bowl of goodness, and watch Hoarders or Extreme Couponers.  The only thing this was missing was some naan bread, so please learn from my mistakes.

And now, the final kicker: a RECIPE!

(If you know me in real life, you’ll know why that’s ironic. If you don’t know me, just come introduce yourself to me – I’m the one hanging out in Aisle 4 in the grocery store on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons).

Indian Coconut Chicken Curry

*Serves 2 – 4 people

4 chicken thighs (either bone-in or boneless)

1/2 t chili powder

1 t curry powder

1/4 t cinnamon

1/4 t tumeric

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t pepper

1 T oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 T minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1-2 T spicy mango chutney

1/2 c coconut milk+ 1/2 c water (OR 1 c light coconut milk…use the extra to make rice)

1 large apple or mango, peeled and chopped

zest of 1 lime

2T chopped cilantro

1. Mix together the chili powder, curry powder, cinnamon, tumeric, salt, and pepper.  Massage onto chicken thighs, and set aside for 15-20 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a pan, and brown chicken on both sides.  Remove from the pan, and set aside.

3. Saute onion and peppers until softened, then add garlic and ginger.  Saute for another minute or two.

4. Add the chicken back to the pan with the coconut milk, water, and mango chutney.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Add the apple (or mango…or both if you’re feeling adventurous!) and lime zest.  Cover and simmer for 20 more minutes.

6. Add cilantro, taste for seasonings, and serve on a bed of basmati rice. Enjoy!

You’re welcome.

The Stock Market

You may remember that a few days ago I posted about my camera dying mid-recipe and so I would be unable to post about the chicken stock/soup that I made.  While…I uploaded the pictures tonight and I realized that I had photographed enough of the process to warrant a post.

So, let’s talk about stock, shall we? Not stocks – I’ll save the investment lesson for another day – but chicken stock.  It really is the foundation of so many wonderful things, and is one of those things that every cook should master.  Why don’t more people make their own, then? You may have your own reasons, but my theory is that it’s because (a) people don’t know how, (b) people think its too hard, and (c) people think its too time consuming.  Well, its your lucky day because right here in Canada’s Test Kitchen I’ve tried many different methods, never use a recipe, and can usually turn out something pretty decent.  However, the times that stand out the most are the ones where I’ve made the stock and then let it simmer for hours with onions, carrots, celery.  Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time or desire to do this, but once you’ve had the real deal its pretty hard to go back to the stuff that comes out of a carton.  Before you start thinking I’m a total snob, let the record show that I’m actually a fan of a few brands of store-bought stocks or stock bases, and depending on the usage I think they can be just as good or better than the homemade kind. However, sometimes you just feel like homemade is best, you know?

I know what some of you are thinking – why not just make a big batch all at once and freeze it? Well, aren’t you smart! Why haven’t I ever thought of that?!?! Kidding.  That would be completely logical and something I would have done a few years ago, and actually, now that I think about it, I probably did do that a few years ago.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a deep freezer (I know – the horror that is my life) and my (small) freezer is packed with enough random ingredients as it is (or does everyone have frozen, pulverized lemon grass in their freezer?) so while I love the idea of making homemade stock on a rainy day and freezing it so I can make homemade soup on a moments notice it has yet to happen.

Do you have any freezer space you’d like to donate to me? Perhaps I should set up a new page.

So – refocusing – my challenge du jour: make chicken stock that doesn’t require 3 hours of simmering.  Since I’m feeling ambitious, my goal is going to be to make it in under an hour. Feel like joining me? Or like placing bets? Do YOU believe?!?!

The goods:

Canola oil, a whole chicken that has been cut up (please see below), a few onions, boiling water, salt, and some bay leaves.

Should be easy enough, right? Time’s a ticking so I better get moving!

To make good chicken stock we need to first start with a good chicken.  Starting with a whole chicken, remove the breast meat from the chicken, and set it aside.  Hack the rest of the chicken apart into 2-inch pieces.  Why? Because we want this stock to be produced quickly, and this is the easiest way to do it.   I know its not pretty, but hopefully the end product will be worth it.

Let’s be practical though: How does one cut up a whole chicken, anyways?  Well, there are really 2 different options:

1)      Become good friends with your butcher and bribe them ask them to cut the chicken up for you.

2)      Bite the bullet and do it yourself: remove the legs and wings first; set aside.  Separate the back from the breast and then split it and set the breast meat aside. Using a meat cleaver, hack the back crosswise into three or four pieces, and then halve each piece again. Cut the wings at each joint so it gives you three pieces.  Are you tired yet? I hope not, cause we have more work to do still. Split the leg and thigh at the joint, and then hack each piece apart to give you three or four pieces.

Alright, now that that is out of the way we can get the party chicken stock started!

In a large stockpot, heat about 1 TBSP of vegetable or canola oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken breast halves and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, while the chicken is sautéing dice up the onion.  Medium-sized pieces sound good to me.

Oh look!

The chicken is nicely browned.  Let’s remove it and throw the onion into the pot in its place. It’s been benched long enough. Two or three minutes should do the trick – starting to smell good in here!

Let’s remove the onion…

…and now add about half of the chicken pieces to the same pot.  After about 4-5 minutes they should have started to turn opaque.

Yup! I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this looks good, but its what we’re looking for.

Remove this batch of chicken, and repeat the same process with the other half of the chicken parts.  When this batch is opaque, add the first batch of chicken and the sautéed onion back to the pot with it so everyone is reuinited again.  This stock is powerful. Its going to change some lives; I can just feel it.

Reduce the gas to low and put a lid on the pot. We’re going to cook it for about 20 minutes so that the chicken can release its juices.

How are we doing for time? Anyone keeping track? I sure hope someone is – this IS a competition after all! About 15 minutes after you put the lid on the pot, stick the kettle on to boil. We have a schedule to stick to, so no wasting time allowed!

Looks like our 20 minutes is up; time to check on the chicken…

Perfect.  Increase the gas to high, and add 2L of boiling water along with the sautéed chicken breasts, 2 bay leaves, and about 2 tsp of salt. Let it come to a simmer, and then cover and cook until the chicken breasts are cooked through.  I think 20 minutes should do the trick, don’t you?

And that is pretty much the end of my photographic journey through stockland (I shed enough tears for all of us, don’t worry). Once 20 minutes has elapsed, remove the chicken breast, and set aside until they’re cool enough to handle.  When they are, remove the skin and shred the meat.  Refrigerate it separately from the rest of the stock. Meanwhile, strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth lined colander into a clean bowl or pot. If you have the time, refrigerate the stock to defat it since the fat will rise to the surface and harden so it can be easily removed.

And that’s it! Homemade chicken stock in under an hour. Yay!!! It IS possible, and it IS delicious.  Will you make extra and freeze it so I can have some next time I need it? Thank you in advance for your co-operation.

Allow me to introduce…

Moroccan Chicken!

But before I tell you all about it, I really appreciated everyone that commented/emailed me suggestions.  Thanks to you, I now have some great ideas for next time.  Keep those ideas coming; I love hearing about what other people would make…sort of like a virtual Iron Chef competition!

Anyways, back to the chicken.  When I saw Angie’s suggestion to go with a Moroccan theme, I knew that was right up my alley. Have you ever had Moroccan food? I hadn’t up until a few months ago, and I’m thoroughly confused as to why I had never tried it because it is certifiably delicious.  If you haven’t ever had it, the cuisine is  a mix of Mediterranean, Arab, and African influences, among others, and utilizes delicious spices (cinnamon, cumin, ginger, tumeric, paprika, saffron, and mint, to name a  few), dried fruits, and nuts to their full potential.  How could you go wrong with all of those fabulous things, really? Oh yes, and Moroccan food is traditionally cooked in a tagine (basically a heavy clay pot that is made up of 2 parts – a circular base and a cone-shaped lid that fits onto the base for cooking) but since I don’t have one of those (not that it is at all related, but my birthday is coming up…) I’m just going to demonstrate using a enamel-coated cast iron pot.

So come on now, pour yourself a cup of (mint) tea and come join me in my kitchen!

We are going to need…

Cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, salt, pepper, oil, butter, chicken, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, chicken stock, honey, cinnamon stick, apricots, and almonds.

First things first: the chicken has to be cut up into 8 pieces or so.  I would show you pictures…but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

(Ok, the truth is I didn’t want to have to wash my hands a million times in between cutting the chicken and taking pictures, and I thought you’d understand.)

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get this show on the road!

Toast up some spices:

That’s roughly 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of ginger, and 1/2 tsp of tumeric, in case you’re wondering. Be careful not to let them burn though!

Meanwhile, in a large bowl put 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and about 2 TBSP of oil.  When the spices are fragrant, add them to the bowl too and stir everything to combine.

Now we’re talking!

Go ahead and add the chicken pieces, and toss everything to coat.

Let the chicken hang out for a bit while you heat up the pan with some oil…and maybe some butter for good measure. IF you had any doubt about this being good, which I’m sure you didn’t but just in case, you should know now without a shadow of a doubt that this will be fabulous that since there is buttter involved.  Yes, I read minds. And I’m here all week.

Working with about half of the chicken pieces at a time, brown them in the hot oil/butter (skin side down) and then flip to the other side to brown it too.  Don’t overcrowd the pan or rush this process!

Remove the chicken pieces and repeat with the remaining pieces in the same manner.

While the chicken is browning, slice up one red onion.

And eventually, remove the 2nd batch of chicken to rest for a few minutes:

Looking good!

In the same pot that you toasted the spices, and browned the chicken (let’s be honest – NO ONE likes doing more dishes than necessary) cook the onion until its softened.  Don’t forget to add some salt for good measure too! Once the onion is soft, add about 4 cloves of garlic that have been minced and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so (or as long as it takes you to load your dishwasher if you’re me). This is getting serious. I’m not sure I can handle it anymore!

Sigh – no quitting at half-time, at least not when raw chicken is involved.  Once the onion and garlic have gotten thoroughly acquainted like the long-lost friends that they are, add the chicken (and any juices that are on the plate that it was resting on) back in, along with 1/2 c of chicken stock and a handful of both parsley and cilantro.

Stir the whole lot up and put the lid on. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring 1 c of chicken stock, about 2 TBSP of honey, a cinnamon stick, 1/2 c of apricots (that have been halved), and about 1/3 c of almonds to a boil.

(I was cooking for someone with a nut allergy, so I just added the almonds in at the end after hers had been dished out but I’m sure it would have been even better if the almonds have been allowed to soak up the honey-cinnamony-apricot goodness).

Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until its developed a glaze-like consistency.  If you need to add some more water or chicken stock to keep the apricots from drying out, you have my permission.

Let’s go check on the chicken, shall we?

YUM.I have no words…

Well actually, I do have a few more things to say.  Unless you like eating springs of parsley and cilantro straight-up, we should probably remove them.  I could have made this process easier on myself by tying them together with kitchen twine, but I like to do things the hard way.  When that’s all taken care of, add the apricot/almond glaze to the chicken…

…and stir it up.  Talk about sensory overload! This is going to be good; I just feel it.

Serve the chicken and sauce over couscous and with a cup of mint tea for a more authentic Moroccan experience if you feel so inclined.  Whatever you do, don’t wait as long as I did to try Moroccan food – I’m sure you will find it as much of a good thing as I did!

Lemon Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

Roasted chicken and potatoes is pretty much the definition of simple comfort food, and over the years I’ve tried to perfect it with many different methods….you name it, I’ve probably tried it.  After much trial and error, I think I’ve settled on my favourite way to prepare it, so give it a try and see if you agree with me that this is the ultimate roasted chicken.

The ingredients:

Whole chicken, salt (that’s whats in the mug), sugar, butter, parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemons, onion, potatoes, pepper, and Mrs. Dash (original blend).

First, we have to make the brine.  What’s does brining mean, you ask?  It’s the process of soaking meat in a solution of salt (and in this case, sugar) and a liquid (usually water). I could give you the long scientific explanation of why this works, but all you need to know is that this is going to help the meat be evenly seasoned, moist, and tender.  I know what you’re thinking – is brining really necessary? Yes, it is.  Very, very important, especially because we’re going to roast the chicken at a really high temperature and not brining it will result in dry meat.  I use a very concentrated brine because I don’t want to have to devote hours to the process, but if you don’t have time to let it brine for an hour just buy a kosher chicken – they’re already salted and are a good substitute.

Back to the brine – dissolve 1/2 c of table salt + 1/2 c of sugar in 2L of cold water, and set it aside while you get the chicken ready.

We’re going to butterfly the chicken.  Have you ever done that before? It’s really easy.  Essentially what you’re doing is removing the backbone and opening and flattening the bird.   This not helps everything cook faster by ensuring greater exposure to the heat and it also guarantees crispy skin as the entire bird.

Ok, so back to the butterflying – here’s how you do it:

Cut through the bones on either side of the backbone using kitchen shears on a knife. Flip the chicken over and use the heel of your hand to flatten the breastbone.

That’s it! Now dunk the chicken in the brine and let it hang out in the fridge for an hour.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to prepping our potatoes, shall we?

Peel and cube up some potatoes, and then submerge in cold, salted water.

Throw in a whole lemon (yes, you read it right)…

…and then separate and peel a whole head of garlic, and throw the cloves in there too. I know what you’re thinking – is she crazy?!?! Well perhaps, but that’s not the point.  Throwing the lemon and garlic in the water with the potatoes will help infuse them with flavour…at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Don’t boil the potatoes yet though!

Line a casserole dish with tin foil, and add a coarsely chopped onion.  Set aside, and then make the rub for the chicken.

In a food processor (or bowl), chop up a handful of parsley, a few cloves of garlic, and the zest of one lemon.  If you want to add some other herbs – rosemary and thyme are both great – go ahead and add them now.Once everything is chopped, add in about 2 TBSP of butter, and then drizzle with olive oil until it forms a paste.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Are you tired yet? I hope not, but if you are, don’t worry, we’re almost done! We still have a bit of time to go before the chicken will be ready to go in the oven, so go ahead and take advantage of this chance to have a nap go do your laundry, wash your floors, and organize your closet.

After the chicken has been brining for about 50 minutes, turn the potatoes on and bring them to a boil.  We want them to boil for about 10 minutes total. Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through; we just want them to be partially cooked but seasoned with the lemon and garlic.

Once an hour has elapsed, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it really well under cold running water.  Since there was sugar in the brine, if the chicken isn’t rinsed it will burn.  Dry it really well with paper towels while you drain the potatoes.

(Sidenote: If you have the time, brine the chicken the night before, rinse and dry it, and let it dry uncovered in the fridge overnight.  All of the surface moisture will evaporate, and the skin will be extra-crispy.)

Remove the lemon from the pot, and then drain the potatoes and add them to the roasting pan.  Slice the lemon (careful – its going to be really hot!) and toss with potatoes.  Add a few pats of butter if you feel so inclined.

Lay the chicken on top of the potatoes. Smoosh a few TBSP of the rub between the breast meat and skin, and then spread the rest over the entire bird.  Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.

Roast at 500 degrees for about 30 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 450 degrees and continue roasting for about 30 minutes longer or until the thermometer registers 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.

Remove the chicken and allow it to rest on a cutting board while tented with foil. Broil the potatoes for about 10 minutes while the chicken is resting. The potatoes will have pretty much mashed themselves by this point, but we want to brown the top a bit.

Does this look good or what?!?!

Go make this chicken. Today. You can thank me later for the marriage proposals that will inevitably come your way.

Glazed Chicken Breasts

Chicken seems to be one of the most popular things to make, but unfortunately it can too often turn out dry, rubbery, and flavourless.  As much as I like just simple roasted chicken, sometimes I just feel like doing a little more…a sauce perhaps? I wanted to do something that’s a little more interesting than just dumping a jar of apricot preserves on some boneless skinless chicken breasts and baking them (boring, dull, and usually overcooked) but not so time-consuming that I had to devote hours in the kitchen.  Is it even possible to create a chicken dish that is moist with complex flavours, and with common pantry and fridge ingredients, in a short amount of time to boot? It sure is – and here’s how I did it.

First of all, round-up everything you’re going to need. It’s going to make the entire process more enjoyable and efficient.  So, go ahead and pull the following things out of your fridge and pantry: Orange juice, light corn syrup, honey, Dijon mustard, white vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, oil, and a shallot.

If you open up your fridge and realize that you don’t have any orange juice, please don’t make something else – just use apple or pineapple juice instead. Don’t have honey? Use maple syrup or brown sugar in its place (try apple/maple and pineapple/brown sugar – both delicious).  All out of chicken breasts? Use chicken thighs, about twice as many.  Or even pork chops.  Don’t take recipes so literally; just focus on the technique and idea and find what works for you – you might surprise yourself with what a good cook you are!

Now that we’ve gotten that out-of-the-way, let’s get cooking.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat your oven to 375  degrees.

Whisk the OJ, corn syrup, honey, mustard, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl, or measuring cup, or whatever you can find that is clean. Trust me – this will taste way better than it looks right now, so just set this aside and keep moving.  I know what you’re thinking – do I REALLY need to add corn syrup AND honey? Can’t I just add one or the other? The simple answer is no, use both. The scientific answer is that the concentrated glucose in corn syrup has a high affinity for water so its going to help hold moisture in the glaze and give us the juicy chicken that we often crave but seldom taste. Oh, and it makes the sauce thick and shiny too. However, corn syrup isn’t actually as sweet as you might think so that’s where the honey comes in.  Don’t worry, the sauce isn’t cloyingly sweet – the vinegar, dijon mustard, and red pepper flakes all add complexity.

Next, pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Any extra moisture will prevent the skin from browning and getting crispy, so don’t skip this step! Put some flour in a dish and coat each piece of chicken with the flour, shaking off the excess.  I recommend doing them one at a time, because if you don’t your sauce will probably be clumpy at the end.  This little bit of flour is also going to help us avoid having thicken the sauce with cornstarch at the end – an added bonus and time-saving step. Hope you’re loving this as much as I am so far!

Heat the oil in a 12-inch oversafe skillet over med-high heat until it’s just starting to smoke.  Brown the chicken on both sides (about 5-8 min per side) and transfer the chicken to the plate.  Don’t crowd the pan – the chicken won’t brown properly.  If you can’t fit all 4 pieces of the chicken in the pan, either do it in batches or in separate skillets.  I browned 3 pieces in 1 pan and the remaining piece in a separate pan…yes, it was something extra to clean but I wanted a deep carmelized skin on my chicken and was too impatient to do it in two batches in the same pan. If you’re thinking that I could have gotten even more colour on these…you’re right.  I was impatient, remember? And it still worked out, so there’s hope for me yet.  If I had more time, or was less hungry, I would have given these more time. Just keeping it real here.

While you’re browning the chicken, chop up the shallot. You can do this with a knife, a food processor, or a slap’n’chop. Once again, not judging…I may or may not have used 2 of those 3 options for the same shallot. Pour off almost all of the fat from the pan, and cook the shallot until its softened – 2 mins should do the trick.

Crank the heat to high and add the orange juice mixture. Simmer until it gets all syrupy and reduced by about half – this will take about 6-10 minutes. Stir it occasionally while its simmering; use a whisk so you can scrape up all of the brown bits in the bottom of the pan since they hold the key to a flavourful sauce. We also don’t want it to burn and all of our hard work to go to waste and have to figure out a plan B for dinner. That would be very, very sad.

Roll each chicken breast in the glaze so that its coated evenly and place skin-side down in the skillet. I found it easiest to tip the pan so the glaze was pooled in one corner, twirl the chicken around, and repeat until each piece is coated. Even though I browned the chicken in 2 pans, I nestled them in tightly so I could cook in one. Worked just fine and helped keep the chicken stay flavourful.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake it for about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken skin-side up and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until it reaches 160-165 degrees.  Take the chicken out of the skillet and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute a bit. While it does this, we’re going to finish off the glaze.

Put the skillet over high heat and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the glaze is very thick and syrupy.  This only takes about 1 minute, so don’t walk away! Oh, and a little PSA – don’t attempt to touch the skillet or the handle without a ovenmitt on…lets just say that I did absent-mindedly and could prove it by showing you a picture but I actually want you to try this chicken instead of scaring you away. Just learn from me and my mistakes, ok?

Remove the pan from the heat (REMEMBER THE OVENMITTS!!!!) and stir in a few extra tablespoons of orange juice. This is going to help brighten up the flavours.

Pour a little bit of extra glaze over each piece of chicken and pass the remaining glaze separately. Doesn’t this look great? All it needs is a green vegetable to go alongside. This picture doesn’t do the chicken justice. Perfection on a plate, if you ask me.

I wish you could smell and taste this right now, but then I’d have to share. Instead, I hope you make this yourself sooner rather than later. Enjoy!