Honey Baked Chicken (from More-with-Less)

Honey Baked Chicken

Every now and again I feel the call of a culinary challenge.  This time it took the form of a whole chicken.  Normally I’m a chicken breast man, but I felt adventurous. Also the recipe called for a 3 lb chicken, cut up.

Now I have cleaned chickens before thanks to volunteer time with Scott and Tony at Pleasant Hill Farm in Rixeyville, VA and thought, if I can handle that, this should be a breeze.  Let me tell you friends and acquaintances – there is no bigger pain in the ass than having to de-feather a chicken, and surprisingly it gets even more annoying when it is mostly done and you still have the fine feathers and left over stubs prickling over a deceptively smooth skin.  If I were a more patient person, I would have no problem plucking said feathers with pliers in one hand and cocktail in the other on a coolish spring day, but in the dark, dead of winter and feeling more than a little starved, I wasn’t ready to have a Peace Corps experience (developed world problems, wah-wah).  After a half hour of scouring the chicken with, by then, numb hands, I thought to hell with it, I’ll eat the damn feathers (or just peel the skin off, but it doesn’t have the same dramatic flurry).  Then of course came the chopping.  If you plan on joining the Peace Corps, invest in a sharp knife, or knives.  I recommend a 12 in. (30 cm.) cleaver, and a whetstone.  Dull is just dull and chickens, even in death, are ornery creatures.

All that being said feel free to tinker with the following recipe.  The wise person knows when to face a challenge and when to substitute for 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Serves 6
350ºF (176ºC)
1 1/4 hrs

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Arrange in shallow baking pan, skin side up: one 3-lb. (1.4 kilo) fryer, cut up.

Combine and pour over:

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
2 T mustard
1 t salt
1 t curry powder

Bake for 1 1/4 hour, basting every 15 minutes, until chicken is tender and nicely browned.  Serve with rice.

Aloo Curry – Curried Potatoes (from here)

Curried Potatoes

Quick easy recipe for the new year when nothing is open, you have no food left, kids are shooting off firecrackers like it’s a war-zone and maybe you’re still slightly hungover or simply dazzled by the fact that you’ve just celebrated the New Year in Albania when last year you were in Virginia. ¡Buen provecho!

Ingredients
4 large potatoes
1 T cumin seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small hot pepper, minced (or use 1/2 tsp chili powder)
1/4 cup fine chopped onion
1 t curry powder
1 t turmeric
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth (or substitute for beer)

Instructions:

  1. Peel 4 large potatoes and cut into 1/2 in. cubes
  2. In a large pot, sauté the cumin seeds in veggie (or olive) oil for about 2 minutes. (If no seeds – no worries)
  3. Add minced garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until soft (about medium low so you don’t burn the garlic)
  4. Add potatoes, broth (or beer) and spices and stir occasionally until the potatoes begin to soften.  If it’s taking too long, cover pot with lid.  Also monitor liquid, and add water if need be, so the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom of your pan.
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