Friday, October 30, 2009

Onion Chicken

Well I've done it again. I've said I'd post soon and slacked off. But worry not! I've been collected recipes and photos this whole time and I have a whole bunch of stuff to post (including an exciting 4-for-1 pudding cake to come soon!). In the meantime, I think I'll start with my most recent creation that I made last week and was extremely pleased with: onion chicken.

Onions are a really fundamental part of my cooking but they're always the aromatic, they're always there to enhance the flavor, they're never the star of the dish - that ends today! This recipe is really easy, delicious and healthy, and I hope will become a favorite of yours too! I've been savoring the leftovers all week.

A lot of times I use chicken breasts because they are easier and quicker to deal with - but I decided to go for on-the-bone chicken this time. Though what I did do was remove all the skin and trim the fat. The way I see it is: so many people I know make such delicious chicken and they have some cool spices and flavorings or sauces but they always put it on top of the skin!

I know there's some sort of American ideal to have crispy skin with poultry but I don't buy it. I almost never eat the skin of chicken (except wings which just aren't worth the effort of taking it off), and so I always end up having to try to wipe some of the flavorings on the skin onto the pale, minimal-flavor chicken beneath it, never with much success.

So instead, I strongly prefer to take all the skin off usually when I make on-the-bone chicken. Not only is it healthier, but the flavor you worked so hard to create pervades the meat of the chicken, and doesn't just rest on top - and that's exactly what I did here.

The basic idea is your standard breaded chicken, with a layer of sauce/binder and a layer of coating (different from your standard frying dredge since there's no bottom layer of flour). The effect that occurs is kind of cool though - some of the sauce drips out, mixes with the little bit of melted fat left on the chicken, and the juice of the onions all mix together in the bottom of the dish to form a really tasty savory sauce which can (and should) be spooned on top at serving time (probably would also be good on top of rice).

Anyway, enough talking, on to the deliciousness!

Tasty chicken where onion is the star of the dish

Onion Chicken

4 thighs + 4 legs chicken (you can use any chicken pieces, I happen to like dark meat)
4 tbsp Smart Beat mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise if you can't find the healthier one)
3 tbsp honey or dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c bread crumbs
4 tbsp Osem onion soup mix
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional, if you can find it)
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
2 onions sliced crosswise into rings
2 tbsp canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 375. Pour oil into an empty pan/tin and let heat in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Make sure you have enough space in your dish to allow all the chicken pieces to lay flat in one layer - if not, use multiple dishes.

2. Remove skin from chicken and trim off excess fat.

3. Mix mayo, soy sauce and mustard in one bowl/plate, and crumbs, spices, soup mix, herbs, salt and pepper to taste in another.

4. Dip chicken pieces in to sauce mixture, then into crumb mixture, coating fully.

5. Remove the preheated pan, and place chicken pieces face-up in the pan (you should hear a little sizzle as you do since you preheated the oil). Make sure the chicken is only in one layer!

6. Place sliced onion rings on top of chicken, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes (to crisp up the crumbs)

7. Lower the temperature to 300 and bake covered for another 20 or so minutes (to get the onions caramelizing) until the chicken is fully cooked - use a meat thermometer! (180 for dark meat, 170 for white meat). If your chicken is too close to this after the first 20 minutes at 375, you may want to lower the temperature to 250 or 275 to slow down the cooking - remember, you don't want to overshoot your mark or you'll get dry chicken!

Serves 6-8 or however many pieces of chicken you prepare.

Nutritional info per serving: 300 calories, 11g fat [2.4g saturated], 17g carbs, 29g protein