baked autumn chicken

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This is one of the first things I ever learned how to make. When I was 10 years old, my dad had shoulder surgery. I learned, years later, that I had less responsibility than I thought, because he had friends and neighbors bringing over meals to help out. I didn’t know this at the time, and he taught me enough to make me feel like I was in charge of the house. He taught me how to make lunch for myself and my sister, he taught me how to make lentil soup, and he taught me how to bake a chicken. This recipe became kind of a staple for us when I was growing up. He used to make butternut or acorn squash to go along with it.

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I made this a little differently than his original recipe, because of what I have in the house, but I’ll include both lists of ingredients, and you can mix and match at your leisure.

What I did

whole chicken
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
olive oil
5 clementine tangerines
1 tbsp brown sugar
cinnamon
nutmeg
salt
pepper
walnuts
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 a Fuji apple
dried cranberries

What my dad does

whole chicken
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
an apple
carrots, chopped
yellow onion, sliced
raisins
walnuts
cinnamon
nutmeg
salt

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Clean the chicken thoroughly, and slice off any unwanted fat. Pat dry. Lightly coat the bird in olive oil on both sides, and dust with all the spices, then rub them into the skin.

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Prepare all of the components. Chop the apple, dice your carrots, peel the tangerines, dice the garlic, and slice the shallot or onion.

Stuff the chicken with a medley of the ingredients, including the apple chunks, orange pieces, and walnuts. My dad likes to bind the chicken legs after he stuffs it.

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Surround the chicken with all of the fixings, and fill the pan about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with a mixture of chicken broth and orange juice (if you have it). The brown sugar needs to be in the broth, not on top of the chicken. Sugar has a very low burn temperature.

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Bake the chicken breast-side down for 30 minutes at 375°F, then flip the chicken and brown the breast for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the chicken’s internal temperature is approximately 165°F. (bake time will vary based on the weight of the chicken) Enjoy!

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