Monday, June 21, 2010

Easy baked chicken

In our house, I make it a point to have a whole organic chicken in the freezer at all times. I usually get the butcher at the store to cut it up for me so that it's easy to thaw and easy to cook. Sometimes I use parts of it - like breasts for marsala chicken or thighs for stir fries, but lately, my favorite recipe is a one pot dish that lasts us for a few days.
While most people make roast or rotisserie chicken a staple in their monthly menus, I find that baking chicken is faster, easier and requires much less work and cleanup. All you have to do is get cut-up chicken, rub with herbs and spices and pop it into the oven. The leftovers can be used in wraps, salads or simply heated up to counter the effects of a night of heavy drinking.

I know this is a superbly simple recipe that has made its rounds on the food blogosphere, but to me, it's something so supremely easy that everyone must try it at some point and be wowed by such a great dinner fixin'. This is my regular take on baked chicken using my favorite herb mix of paprika and Mediterranean herbs, but you also make this with teriyaki sauce, a combination of other spices or a really spicy chicken with cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder and dried cilantro.

Easy baked chicken

1 whole roasting chicken, about 4lbs, cut into 10 pieces with back removed
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Olive oil

Pat the chicken pieces dry and lay them down in a roasting pan, skin side up. Put the bigger pieces like the breasts and thighs in the middle of the pan.

Massage the chicken all over with the herbs and spices and drizzle GENEROUSLY with olive oil.

Pop into preheated oven at 400°F for about 35 minutes + 5 minutes for each pound of chicken. So a 4lb chicken would take about 55 minutes. Double check with a meat thermometer - 180°F for chicken breast piece to be cooked.

Remove from oven, tent with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes and serve.