In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a flavorful chicken dish, perfect for a family Sunday dinner. I found the recipe in “From a Southern Oven: The Savories, The Sweets,“ by Jean Anderson (Wiley; $32.50).
(makes 6 servings)
- 4 pounds meaty chicken parts (breasts, drumsticks, thighs, etc.), breasts halved crosswise, if large
- 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
- 1 1/2 cups water
For the sauce
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pats
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or raw sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Arrange chicken skin side down in single layer in large shallow nonreactive baking pan. Drop in garlic and add water. Slide onto middle oven shelf and bake uncovered 45 minutes, turning pieces once or twice.
3. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in small heavy nonreactive pan. Set over low heat and bring slowly to a boil. Turn heat to lowest point, slide a diffuser underneath pan, and keep sauce warm. Note: If you can’t keep heat low enough, set pan off-heat.
4. When chicken has cooked 45 minutes, make sure all pieces are skin side up. Pour reserved sauce evenly over all and bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes longer, basting frequently with sauce. To test chicken for doneness, insert instant-read thermometer in meatiest part of breast or thigh not touching bone; it should read 165 degrees. Note: If sauce in pan thickens too much before chicken is done, mix in 1/2 to 1 cup boiling water.
5. To serve, arrange chicken on heated large platter. Strain sauce, discarding solids and pass separately. The traditional accompaniment? Coleslaw and hushpuppies or cornbread.