Friday, February 4, 2011

Ranch recipes: Honey Dijon Chicken

I like chicken but we don't really eat much of it out here at the ranch. Most of what we produce goes into our CSA member shares but once in a while the chicken plucker plays a little rough and breaks a leg. These parts are no so pretty and can't be packed in the shares - though I am sure CSA member Rick would take as many broken chicken legs as I could "wing" at him (he's a bit of a chicken fanatic) but then I would have no janky chicken parts for myself and I am just selfish like that. Sorry Rick!

After a long day of assorted, exhausting farm chores, this Honey Dijon Chicken was so yummy I forgot to take a photo to entice you to prepare it for yourself. You will just have to trust me on this one, OK? It is good. Here's the cast of characters:

Chicken: I used two, skin-on chicken legs with extra character - one where the "knee" between the thigh and drumstick as messed up so the drumstick stuck straight out like it was goose-stepping and one where the drumstick was essentially stick-less. If you can't find chicken with so much character, a half chicken, legs or assorted parts would work too.

Butter: I said it was tasty, not necessarily low-cal. I used 5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter. Maybe it was 6. I was eye-balling it.

Honey: We recently received some honey from Steve that he got on his trip to Baja this winter. It is supposedly some rare honey collected from bat caves in Mexico. Good news is that the honey tasted of neither bats nor caves but of the smokey mesquite trees the bees worked to make the smokey bat cave honey. If you can't find a dark, rich mesquite honey, a lighter honey would do the trick but I thought the smokey-ness was a good addition. Maybe a drop of liquid smoke to compensate? Anyway, I used about a third of a cup of honey.

Mustard: Any type of dijon mustard should work. All I had on hand was some off-brand dijon and it seemed to do the trick. I used about a 1/4 cup.

Curry powder: Just enough for for some nice background flavors without being too overwhelming curry-y. I used about 2 teaspoons.

For those of you that prefer ingredient lists set apart from rambly paragraphs, here's what we've got:

Honey Dijon Chicken

- 2 chicken legs
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 2 tsp curry powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a 9x9 baking dish.
2. In a small bowl or saucepan, melt butter and honey together. Add dijon and curry powder. Pour sauce over chicken.
3. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes while basting with sauce every 10-15 minutes. Chicken is done when golden brown and juices run clear. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

For added deliciousness, once the chicken was removed from the pan, Nathan poured the sauce into a saucepan and whisked on the stove with a little flour and milk to make a honey dijon gravy. We poured the gravy over home fries - it sounds weird I know, the whole pouring gravy over french fries thing, but as resident Canada expert, Adam, has confirmed: not only do Canadians eat gravy on fries (called poutine), it is actually tasty. And I can confirm that this honey dijon gravy was tasty too, fries or not. It would also make an interesting twist poured over mashed potatoes. 

So there you have it, a satisfying chicken dish with relatively few ingredients and mild, kid-friendly flavors, well that is unless they dislike the taste of bats...


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