Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stove Top Pan-Barbequed Chicken

If you are hankering for a barbeque flavour in the cold of winter, this recipe is for you. This is a tried and true family favorite that was a regular treat back on the farm. Since we were operating without a refrigerator, fresh animal was a once a week special that we would bring from town in our ice chest and eat the next day. Usually it was chicken and if we didn't cover it with curry, we turned to this recipe instead. It is from Jane Brody's Good Food Book, a healthy eating bible that was published in 1985 with the byline "living the high-carbohydrate way". Ah, the good old days before the Adkins diet, when carrots and apples were considered healthier than bacon and steak! This recipe, however, would be perfectly acceptable to most low carb dieters, as it's mostly poultry. This is not a particularly spicy barbeque sauce. The "optional" add-ins bring the dish up to the heat level that I think good barbeque ought to have, but I suggest you try it with the original spices before you experiment, as tastes differ and I like my food with a real kick to it.

Also, feel free to experiment with this recipe. If you like liquid smoke in your sauce, put a little in. If you want a vegetarian version, nix the worcestershire sauce and replace the chicken with some firm tofu or tempeh, or even a healthy serving of beans. Some basic variations could include:
  • Vegetarian BBQed tofu or tempeh. Use a couple pounds of extra firm tofu or tempeh, get rid of the Worcestershire sauce and replace it with 1/2 tsp of good sea salt and 1/2 tsp of tamerind concentrate (available at Whole Foods and Indian grocery stores, or online).
  • BBQed pork or beef. This one is easy. Replace the chicken with your favorite meat. Proceed as usual.

Stove Top Barbequed Chicken

The total calorie count for the bbq sauce (not counting the chicken itself) is about 410 calories, or roughly 70 calories per half cup.

1 tsp olive oil (or less if you are using a nonstick pan)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp good quality chili powder
black pepper and salt
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder (optional)
2 tsp Marie Sharps habanero pepper sauce or other favorite hot sauce (optional)
One 3 lb whole chicken, skinned and cut into serving pieces, or about three lbs of mixed cuts (breasts and legs/thighs)


1. Toss the chicken with a spritz of olive oil, 1 tbsp of the vinegar, a light sprinkle of salt (the worcestershire sauce adds plenty of sodium) and a grind or two of fresh black pepper. Let sit.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan. Add the onion and stir, cooking, on medium low until it is well sauteed, soft and partially transparent.

3. Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken to the skillet, placing what used to be the skin side down, and quickly brown the meat on both sides. Mix together the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and hot sauce, if using. Pour over the chicken and bring the sauce to a boil.

4. Cover the skillet and simmer the chicken for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through on the bottom side. Uncover, turn the chicken over and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

I like to serve this with brown rice and a green salad as a hearty winter dinner, but you may certainly go the potatos route if you prefer.

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