We’ve had a taste of summer around here for a few days but soon it will be back to the cold and rainy days of February. It’s not that I hate winter weather, really. Cozying up with a blanket in front of a fire is one of my favorite activities. But the grey days begin to wear on me after awhile and I find myself craving everything that goes along with the sun.
I know I have nothing whatsoever to complain about since I live in California but to me it’s cold if it drops below 65 – burr! I apologize profusely to those of you back East who have been suffering through such harsh weather. The sun will shine once again but until that time, we must not go without barbecue. So, to celebrate summer in the midst of winter I’m sharing this dish.
This oven barbecue method produces super juicy chicken that is coated with a made from scratch barbecue sauce that is sweet, tangy, and has just a hint of heat. I like to serve it with mashed potatoes because, well,I like to serve almost everything with mashed potatoes. Life is better with mashed potatoes. Add the veggie of your choice and call it dinner.
The grocery list – Meaty, bone-in chicken pieces of your choice. I was torn between bone-in breasts (the package on top) and leg quarters (underneath) but I ended up going with the breasts. You’ll also need jellied cranberry sauce, tomato sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, onion, an orange, garlic, brown sugar, and a little butter.
Start by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy bottomed pan over low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the cranberry sauce and tomato sauce. Cook and stir the mixture and the cranberry sauce will begin to break down and mix into the sauce.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients – brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, black pepper…
…and the orange zest and orange juice. The crushed red pepper is going to add a touch of heat but not a lot. Add more to spice it up if you are so inclined.
Use the back of your spoon to squish up any remaining chunks of cranberry sauce which should be breaking down at this point. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
While the sauce is simmering away, let’s deal with the chicken. I’m only going to use 3 pieces and since they are SO large and I’ll cut them in half. Use as many pieces as you need to feed your group. There will be plenty of sauce.
Pull the skin off your chicken pieces the best you can. If a little remains, that’s fine. Cut your chicken into serving sized pieces, if necessary.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Don’t go too heavy on either since we are adding the flavor packed sauce soon. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Here is the beautiful, rich, and amazingly tasty sauce after it has simmered for 10 minutes. It has just the right combination of tart, sweet, and a touch of heat. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Remove the pan from the oven after 30 minutes. Yes, I know it looks “blah” but just wait. Spoon off and discard most of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the pan. I left a little behind to mix in with the sauce but you don’t want to leave too much or the sauce will be too thin.
Pour about half the sauce or more, over the chicken until each piece is coated. Use tongs to flip the chicken over in the sauce to coat both sides. The pieces should be meaty side up before you put the pan back in the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered this time. Every so often, check on it and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the pan over the pieces.
Remove from the oven when the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
Where have you been all my life?
Now, excuse me while I go grab a blanket and cozy up next to the fire.
Tangy Oven Barbecue Chicken
Serves: 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 (14 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 6 to 8 meaty chicken pieces, skinned
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add onion and cook and stir for a couple of minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook and stir another minute. Add cranberry sauce, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground black pepper. Increase heat to medium high and bring just to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
While sauce is simmering, place chicken pieces on a cutting board and remove and discard skin. Cut pieces into serving size pieces if necessary.
Coat a large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer chicken pieces to pan meaty side up and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and use a spoon to remove most of the cooking liquid. Pour about half of the barbecue sauce over the chicken and flip chicken with tongs to cover both sides well with sauce. Increase oven temperature to 375 and return pan to the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. Check occasionally and spoon some of the sauce from bottom of pan over the chicken. Remove from oven when chicken is no longer pink in center and is cooked well throughout.
Serve with additional sauce on the side.