My, how embarrassing. I've really been falling down on the job lately when it comes to cooking and writing and writing about cooking. I swear it's not ENTIRELY due to my faraway, but impending nuptuals, though I have to say, for two pretty low-maintenance people, it sure is taking us a while to figure out where the frick to get married (seriously, any ideas, people? Put me out of my misery.). There's also that little thing of school. I write to you now, still in my pajamas at 12:30, having pulled the old person version of a paper-writing all-nighter. ie, get home at 10pm, put on a pot of coffee, order some diner food, and write until 2am when the fiance is asleep on the floor, and I just can't read another sentence about theories of attachment in the infant-caregiver dyad. Ick.
The point is, it's been so busy around here that I turn around and here we are, smack in the middle of the holiday season. Thanksgiving came and went in a house in Virginia full of 26 close relatives of the fiance (13 of which are children), and a tummy full of the ubiquitous biscuits and gravy (on the MORNING of Thanksgiving, no less) and a truly decadent turkey dinner. And then Hanukkah, earlier in the season than is really fair. As if the inferiority complex wasn't bad enough in a Christmas-focused culture, here we are lighting candles before we've barely put away the leftover cranberry relish. Or at least, some of us are. I've been such a bad half Jew this year. The only time I've lit them was on the night of our family brisket dinner in honor of the holiday. For which, as per usual when it comes to our family, in a panic induced by the Mother that we may not have enough food (read: twice as much as is really necessary for any 4 person dinner.), I made some chicken.
But not just any chicken. Grandma's apricot chicken. Or an approximation thereabouts. It has been one of my very favorite comfort foods since we had it grandma's table and then at our own when mom used to make it. It's sticky and sweet, savory, salty, crispy and moist. And, as I was reminded this time around, easy. The perfect weeknight main dish, holiday or no. Thanks, Grandma. And happy Hanukkah.
Now, onto Christmas.
Grandma's Apricot Chicken
* I was surprised to find a similar recipe to our family version in Bon Appetit for a Hannukah menu in 2007. Apparently, we're not the only ones to find this strange mix of asian and eastern european flavors somehow appropriate for a Jewish family dinner. As my measurements and cooking times are all estimates (and rather loose, at that), you may want to refer to this one for details. I won't be hurt.
1 3lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup apricot preserves (make your own here!)
1/3 cup Teriyaki Sauce (plus a couple of tablespoons)
1/3 cup Soy Sauce (plus a couple of tablespoons)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Ginger powder (optional)
salt and pepper as needed
Marinate chicken in a couple of glugs each of soy sauce and teriyaki. Sprinkle a bit of ginger powder if you like. Add a bit of the minced garlic, reserving most for the glaze. Let sit in fridge for anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix preserves, soy sauce, teriyaki, and rest of garlic in a bowl. If you're not in a rush/limiting your dirty dishes, blend this mixture in food processor until mostly smooth. Line a shallow, heavy baking pan with tin foil and sprinkle with a bit of oil. Place chicken skin-side up on sheet, and place in oven. Cook until chicken is just beginning to brown (10-15 minutes). Take out of oven and spoon glaze generously over chicken. Put back in oven. Cook until about halfway done (about 30 minutes more), turn and glaze other side. Finish cooking in oven (20 more minutes?). For last few minutes put under broiler to crisp skin a bit. Serve with anything. Lick fingers.