Barbecue chicken with its spicy-sticky coating caramelized just this side of charcoal black is a summer classic. But after all the promise of the bronzed color, the flavor can be a little underwhelming since the sauce never really makes contact with the meat.
As I was paging through Food + Wine’s most recent issue featuring their list of Best New Chefs I spotted this recipe for chicken that reminded me of the tang and sweet heat all the best barbecue sauce has to offer. The key difference: time and also thyme (rosemary too.) Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Westward in Seattle mixes together a gorgeous marinade of honey and spicy pepper for a hit of fresh herbs.
Personally, I love when a recipe combines a familiar technique – marinating, roasting – with a flavor combination that’s new to my palate. I’d never tasted Aleppo pepper before and I was intrigued by the fresh herb and honey combination. One taste and I can see why Chef Antonitsas is garnering so much great press.
Roasted Chicken with Honey and Aleppo (serves 4)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
In a large liquid measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, honey and red wine vinegar with the Aleppo pepper, kosher salt, minced garlic, thyme and rosemary. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade in a small bowl and refrigerate.
Place the chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag and pour the remaining marinade in and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight turning periodically to ensure even contact with the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Arrange the chicken skin side up on the baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the largest piece registers 160°.
Transfer to a platter. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved marinade, sprinkle with salt and serve.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, this is really simple. I used a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, a whisk, medium cutting board, and chef’s knife. I also needed a gallon-sized zip top bag, small storage container, foil, and a rimmed baking sheet.
We both loved this recipe, which has the extra bonus of being really, really easy to prepare. Just a little mincing, some patience, a hands-off cooking approach and dinner is on the table! But, the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation belies the superb balance and clear flavors in the sauce. Mike and I are already dreaming up new ways to incorporate the marinade - maybe with beef or salmon? Please try this, you won’t be sorry!