Roasted Marmalade Chicken

Saturday in Toronto this week was awash. Not only awash because it poured all day long, accompanied by hugely strong winds and gusting, but also a wash because it meant I missed my training walk since I optimistically waited for a break in the downpour, which just never materialized. A waste all around. If I'd been completely committed, I guess I could have just wrapped up and faced the elements but somehow I couldn't face the bone-chilling cold that definitely awaited. When I watched my crazy Canadian son and his friend come in drenched after golfing nine holes (and then sensibly bailing!!) and I threw their almost icicle-laden clothes into the dryer, I knew cocooning and doing my taxes was my destiny for the day. Call me a chicken. So is Carole. (At least I think she probably was too since she's too practical for that nonsense.) So when dinnertime rolled around, my thoughts turned to something warm and comforting for all of us.

When I initially read this recipe and saw "marmalade" as a main ingredient, I was worried that although I liked it on toast, it might be too sweet for this chicken dish. However, as it turned out, the balsamic vinegar became the overriding taste here, not only cutting the sweetness perfectly but also offering a more rounded, rich flavour. The nicest surprise of this recipe was the roasted onion sauce created during the cooking process... a beautiful marinade thickened and turned into a "sop it all up and don't miss a bit" perfect complement to the chicken and veggies. I served the chicken and sauce on a bed of quinoa alongside some sauteed crispy parsnips and asparagus, with not a complaint from the crowd.

serves 4

1/4 cup 3-fruit or Seville orange marmalade

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

3 tbsp vegetable oil

4 chicken breasts, on the bone, skin on

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups thinly sliced onions

1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine marmalade, balsamic vinegar, mustard and rosemary. Divide in half. Whisk 1 tbsp of oil, reserving remainder, into half of mixture. Brush marmalade mixture with oil on to the chicken breasts; season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil and butter in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions to pan and saute, stirring for 1 minute or until just beginning to soften. Add stock and remaining marmalade-mustard mixture. Bring to boil. Place chicken breasts skin-side up over onions.

Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear, basting chicken with sauce occasionally.

Remove breasts and bring sauce back to boil. Boil until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return chicken to reheat and serve with sauce.

Rest of the week

April 15 Pizza night

April 16 Roasted marmalade chicken with quinoa and sauteed parsnips and asparagus