Category Archives: Chicken

Baked chicken á la M

So, here’s the short and sweet about my love life: I may or may not be cheating on my girlfriend with baked chicken. Yes, you can gasp now as I scream it to the world: I lovebaked chicken! But, another confession: I’d never really, truly had it this way until I moved in with my girlf.

This was tonight's beautiful, succulent supper.

The first night she made baked chicken for me, I whipped up an Asian-inspired glaze with anything I could think of, which she spooned over it, stuck into the oven, and baked per my directions. They looked gorgeous, but even better, they tasted like…heaven! Really, truly, honestly, I about scarfed down two whole thighs myself. Seriously, I may or may not have inhaled them whole. They were golden crisp and dark on the outside, tender, moist and succulent (yes, I said succulent) on the inside. Eat your heart out. I died a little inside when I looked down at my plate and realized those beautiful, tender, moist thighs were no longer in this world.

Well, Pheasant said to me happily, Then we just make more, right?

I was wrong. I wasn’t just wrong: I was erroneous, I was counter-factual, I was absolutely, positively incorrect. Because, you see…I’d made the first mistake that any budding cook learns not to make (barring adding salt before you’ve tasted): I didn’t write down the ingredients. Not a single one. Oh, but you say, couldn’t you just remember? Well, of course! But remembering and know the exact measurements are two very different things.

So, the next time I craved myself a succulent, tender, juicy chicken thigh coated in a most amazing shoyu-honey glaze, I stood myself at the counter, ingredients spread before me, and began carefully, carefully tasting. I tasted for nearly half an hour, y’all. I slowly added more honey, more shoyu, more rice wine vinegar. Everything. I tasted and tasted and tasted, until I could taste no longer. And you guys, it was delicious. It was sweet, salty, slightly tart…beautiful. Now, to put my plan into action. I coated some thighs, stuck them on a Pam’d, foil-lined baking sheet and baked those beautiful chicken parts to my heart’s content. They were gorgeous! Still soft, tender, juicy (can I used those adjectives anymore, in reference to these thighs? I may have used up my quota…) but with that shiny, crackling, “I can thump it with my finger and it makes a hollow sound” crisp skin. Bee-u-tee-full. Here it is, everyone: the lovely, the tender and delightful….

M’s Baked Chicken

3 chicken thighs, cleaned, bone-in, skin on

2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce. I highly recommend Aloha brand shoyu. It’s not as salty as, say, Kikkoman)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice or red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp pepper (fresh or pre-ground, it makes no difference)

1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 1/2 clove, very finely minced (press it, if you can)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp garlic OR olive oil

PAM

So, you’ll need a little tupperware for this, about enough to hold maybe half a cup of liquid. We’ll be making all of this in the Tupperware! Isn’t that handy? So all you’ll really need to clean up before supper is a little whisk or fork.

Mix all the spices together: garlic powder, curry powder, pepper, and the cayenne, if you’re using it. Mix them, and mix them well. Add in the garlic oil and whisk to form a bit of a garlicky, curry-y paste. Beautiful, isn’t it? If you’re adding fresh garlic instead of powder, mix it in after the oil.

Add the honey, mixing until it’s nice and thick. Add the shoyu and vinegar. Stir them up until everything is super-mellow and cooperating nicely.

Now, you can either set it in the fridge and forget about it until it’s time to make the deliciousness that will be in your Pheasant later, or, you can do it immediately. I like to let it sit, because I feel it gives everything time to mix and blend until it’s absolutely perfect, but that’s just me.

Now, when you’re ready for glory, you have two options:

1) Set the oven to 375° F (approximately 191° Centigrade.) Line a baking sheet (jelly roll, or something with a small lip all around) with foil, then spray the foil with Pam (or the cooking spray of your choice.) Spread the thighs out on the sheet, giving them a goodly amount of room. Make sure the skin is extremely spread out so it gets nice and crunchy-crisp. Hey, chicken skin is loaded with fat. You may as well make it taste good, right? Take out your sweet-salty baste, and mix it up to make sure it’s all nice and incorporated. Spoon a bit over each thigh, making sure it clings and coats it well. Then, when the oven is preheated, slide them in. Ten minutes into the cooking process, take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with a little more of the sauce, and stick it back in. Repeat one more time. Proceed to the section sign.

2) Take the thighs and the sauce, and put them together in a plastic zip-top bag. Let them rest for an hour, maybe two, or even overnight. Once you’re ready to cook, set the oven to 375° F (191° C.) Line a baking sheet (jelly roll, or something with a small lip all around) with foil, then spray the foil with Pam (or the cooking spray of your choice.) You’ll still want to spread the chicken out well, making sure the skin is going to be good and crisp. I like to score the fat to make sure it all drains well, because I hate biting into globs of chicken fat (ew…) Once everything’s all set up and your oven tells you it’s ready to roll, stick those puppies in there. Watch them. And…

§ Around the 30 minute mark, you’ll want to take them out and prick each one (under the skin, not through it!) with a fork or knife. If the juices run clear, great! You’re done. If not, stick them back in another ten minutes. Once everything is running clear, take them out and inspect those babies. If they’re brown and crunchy looking, with a solid “thumk” sound when you flick your finger against them, let them sit out as you finish preparing supper. If not, set them under a hot broiler, watching them carefully, until they reach said doneness. This is sugar we’re dealing with, people. Don’t be stupid. Watch your chicken.

Let them sit for at least five minutes to incorporate the juices back into the chicken (you know, if you can wait that long…) and then…feel free to shove as much of it in your mouth at a time as you can. Relish the delight in your mouth!

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Spicy, skinny chicken nuggets!

If you’re like me, you’re kind of addicted to hot wings. I absolutely adore spicy food, and hot wings are no exception…spicy barbecue, mild or “so hot I can barely see straight,” I love them all. There’s just something about the crispy chicken skin, moist meat and spicy, blow-your-socks-off flavor that keeps me coming back for more. M and I have even found our favorite place to go for wings (and burgers!) It’s a great place on the Ave in the U District called Wing Central. I’d never had a burger so flavorful, or a hot wing so beautiful in all my life before we found that place. It’s glorious!

But, sometimes I get in the mood for hot wings when I’m not willing to splurge 800 calories to get the wing fix I want. That exact thing happened this morning, and I realized that I absolutely must come up with a way to enjoy them without throwing away more than half a days’ calories (as well as more than twice my daily sodium intake, my entire daily fat consumption, etc.) I wanted something delicious, crunchy, satisfactorily spicy, and something I could make quickly when I’m craving, without having to worry about how many calories it will kill for the day.

So, I stood there staring at a defrosting chicken breast for a while. It came to my attention early on that using egg wouldn’t keep the calories low at all…that left very few ideas. Thankfully, I found a quick replacement to that. The sauce was easy enough: hot sauce itself is generally very low-fat and low-calorie, so the only thing to watch would be the sodium amount. Most places and recipes mix butter in with the sauce, but I could definitely do without that…I did, however, want something creamier, something more rib-sticking, lip-smacking and finger-lickingly delicious than I’d had before. This was the ultimate challenge. I ended up with a mix of sauces and a small half teaspoon of sour cream (to give it a creamy, delicious taste.) I’ll miss the bleu cheese dressing…but not by much! You can toss them in the sauce like normal chicken wings, or dip them in, which is my favorite way.

As for the lack of nutritional information: I’ve decided that, because of a recent change of heart, I won’t be posting the caloric content here anymore. If you like, you can use the Livestrong MyPlate website to tally, which is where I entered them in before. It’s a great website! I’d urge everyone aiming to gain a healthier body to look it up.

Pheasant’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 chicken breast (about 12 0z)

6 tbsp breadcrumbs (I like to mix Progresso breadcrumbs with craggy, homemade ones)

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings (I used Hot Buffalo style)

2 tbsp Texas Pete Original (or any vinegar-based, 0 calorie hot sauce)

1/2 tsp reduced fat sour cream

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C.) Then, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix them with your favorite spices; I used cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley and a little onion powder. I’d caution you to not use salt, because the hot sauce has a whole bunch of sodium in it already. Cut the chicken up into approximately 24 nuggets of more or less equal size. Then, in a bowl, toss them with the olive oil until they’re all very well-coated.

Dip the nuggets into the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Place them on a foil-lined, Pam’d baking sheet and then slide those puppies into the oven for 9 minutes; take them out, flip them all over and replace them in the oven for 4-5 more minutes. While the nuggets are baking, mix up your hot sauce. Place the sour cream in a small snack bowl and pour the Frank’s Red Hot over it. Mix them together until smooth, then add in Texas Pete and mix again until combined. If you’re using the liquid smoke, add it in along with the Texas Pete hot sauce.

Once the nuggets are done, take them out and let them sit for a bit. If you choose to toss them in the sauce, do this now. If not, serve ’em up and dip them to your heart’s content!

Now, these nuggets were fantastic! I had them with some baked potato wedges and peas…wow, they definitely hit the spot. If you start getting a craving for spicy and crispy, this is definitely the way to go!

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