How does this make you feel?
Excited? Stressed out? Apathetic?
Personally, I'm pumped to see my family (especially my little sister). We've been separated for four months and that's the longest we've ever been apart. Granted, I live out of state now, so every visit is special.
I consider myself lucky because many people hate the holidays. "Why?", you ask. Thanksgiving and Christmas force people to hang out with family, extended relatives and acquaintances they might otherwise not desire to be around. Plus, lots of people, food and alcohol in one place can lead to roused emotions and who's better at arguing and fighting than family?
Then again, maybe you're the family hosting a get together. You're responsible for the majority of the dishes. And you're stressed out of your mind.
Relax! This is part of the reason why I'm posting this roasted chicken recipe.
More often than not, when relatives travel from out of town to stay with family for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or any other holiday), they're around for several days, if not longer. The host bears the burden of feeding guests before the big feast (afterward is generally not a problem with all the leftovers).
If this is the case for you, here's a simple roasted chicken recipe that takes little effort.
Just slice the oranges and onions, season the chicken and you're done. Pop it in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes minutes. Depending on how big your roasting pan is, you can feed a crowd with this meal on the cheap. Chicken thighs are inexpensive.
If you don't have any oranges handy, I have a similar recipe for Lemony Garlic Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Onions that's just as simple and stellar.
If you want to jazz up the dish even more, pour the juice/drippings into a pan, add a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt & pepper and splash of orange juice. Set to medium-high heat and reduce into a pan sauce to pour onto your chicken.
This is totally not necessary, though. We're keeping it simple, remember?
Tender bone-in chicken thighs seasoned with rosemary & spices, scattered with diced garlic and sliced onion, then roasted in a mixture of white wine and fresh squeezed orange juice. A simple, flavorful, inexpensive meal that's great for busy nights or entertaining guests.
Serves: 4 (double or triple if you're cooking for a holiday crowd)
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow or sweet onion, peeled and thickly sliced
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (add more if you like it spicy or less if not)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
1 large orange, zested and cut into eight wedges
1/4 cup of dry white wine (sub low-sodium chicken or veggie stock if you have no wine on hand)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large roasting pan with foil. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and trim excess fat. Peel and slice the onion. Smash, peel and dice the garlic. Place the thighs in the pan with space in between each chicken piece. Scatter the onion pieces in the empty space. Drizzle the olive oil across the chicken and onions. Use your hands to rub the oil evenly across the chicken (top & bottom). Sprinkle the garlic pieces across the chicken and pan (some of it will land on the bottom and that's okay). Season both sides of the chicken with rosemary, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Using a microplane grater or peeler, zest the orange peel evenly over the chicken. Slice the orange into eight wedges. Squeeze the juice from each wedge over the chicken then tuck the orange slices around the chicken. Pour a 1/4 cup of white wine into the corner of the pan (not across the chicken). Add more seasoning if necessary and pop in the oven. Cook for an hour and fifteen minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Note & Tips
If you want to save time by not skinning the chicken, or prefer the skin on, turn the oven to broil in the last five minutes and transfer the chicken to the top most rack. This will help crispen the skin.
Not a big rosemary fan? Substitute your favorite dried (or fresh) herb. Try herbes de provence or oregano, for example.
If your roasting pan is large enough, slice some potatoes and arrange them around the chicken. They'll absorb the juices as everything cooks.
Alternately, cut up some vegetables (ex: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), toss them with EVOO, salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper and roast them on the bottom rack of the oven during the last 30-40 minutes of the chicken's cooking time. Might as well let your oven do double duty.
If you don't have a grater, don't fret. The orange peel isn't vital to the dish. I just purchased a microplane grater, tried it for this recipe and it didn't work. :( So, I had to leave the citrus zest out. Without the zest, the orange flavor is subtle and the rosemary shines.
Question for Discussion: Is there a particular dish that your family traditionally serves in the lead up to the big holiday feast? Answer in the comments section below.