Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Baked Chicken with Honey-Lemon Glaze

1 lb. white boiling onions (about 24), 1-inch in diameter
1 lemon
1/4 cup light honey
3 tsps. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 to 1 1/2 tsps. dried), divided
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
3 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. minced shallot
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup golden raisins (sultanas)

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°.

Trim and cut an x in the root end of each onion. Peel onion and put in a saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Using a zester or a fine-holed shredder, and holding the lemon over a bowl, shred the zest from the lemon. Then squeeze the juice into another bowl. Measure 2 tablespoons of the juice and add to the zest. Stir in the honey and 2 teaspoons of thyme (or 1 teaspoon, if using dried). Set aside.

Remove any excess fat from the chicken pieces. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Select a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking pan that holds the chicken comfortably in one layer. Spray with Pam. Combine the butter and shallot in the pan; place in oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the butter. Add the chicken and turn to coat well; leave the pieces skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the remaining teaspoon (1/2 tsp., if using dried) thyme. Bake uncovered, basting a couple of times with the pan juices, for 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken skin side up and add the onions and raisins to the pan. Baste the chicken and onions with half of the honey-lemon mixture. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Baste with the remaining honey-lemon mixture, reduce the heat to 350°, and continue to bake, basting every 7-8 minutes with the pan juices, until the chicken and onions are fork-tender and golden and the pan juices have thickened to a glaze, approximately 25-30 minutes.

If the juices have not thickened sufficiently, transfer chicken to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and boil the juices on the stove top until reduced to a glaze, 2-3 minutes. Return chicken to the pan and turn several times to coat with glaze.

Arrange chicken and onions on a serving platter. Spoon any remaining glaze over the top and serve.

For good, juicy results, take care not to over bake the chicken. Start testing for doneness toward the end of the cooking time by piercing a breast at its thickest part with a sharp knife: the flesh should look opaque and the juices should run clear.

Serves 4


Sliced mushrooms are a great addition. I use an 8-ounce package of button, but any kind would be delicious. I like to melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms and onions until just tender (rather than melt the butter in the oven). I also think a regular onion, thinly sliced, is just as good (and easier) than the pearl onions. I also prefer the caramelized flavor of a yellow onion more than a pearl onion. You may have to take the chicken breasts out first (keeping warm on a plate covered with foil) while you wait for the dark meat to finish cooking.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Simple Classics Cookbook by Chuck Williams

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