One of my favorite reasons for making this dish over and over again (other than its delicious taste) is to watch how it always converts confirmed “curry haters.” Unfortunately, curry seems to be one of the most misunderstood spice blends around. But this recipe performs miracles as the cooking aromas from the curried honey sauce drive people crazy with anticipation! Without exception, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this chicken recipe.
The key to success is using a shallow baking sheet with one-inch sides, so the chicken pieces can become crisp as they self-baste. Since the pieces are liberally coated with sauce, if you use a pan that’s deeper than suggested, the chicken will bake instead of roast. The low-sided pan enables the exterior of the chicken to gain better exposure to heat, allowing the top to become gloriously brown (almost mahogany). The result is one of the best and most versatile chicken dishes that I prepare. The recipe also doubles easily.
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup mild honey
- 1 teaspoon fine table salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (or more, to taste)
- 2 generous tablespoons peach or mango chutney
- Small handful dried currants or chopped dark raisins
- 2 roasting chickens (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds each), each cut into 8 serving pieces
Curried Chicken Salad
A good reason to double this recipe is the leftovers. They not only reheat well, but they also make fabulous chicken salad! Just remove any thick pieces of skin and tear flesh into bite-sized pieces, add some coarsely chopped, unpeeled Golden Delicious apples, coarsely chopped toasted almonds, dried currants and minced scallions. Make a dressing with mayonnaise, some Dijon mustard and a touch of honey. Toss chicken salad with just enough dressing to bind, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with a salad greens and some crusty rolls and you've got yourself a great lunch or a light supper!
To make the sauce
Melt butter in a heavy 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, sauté the onion and garlic until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the chicken, and stir until combined. Heat until warm throughout and set aside until cool enough to handle.
To prepare chicken
Rinse and pat the chicken pieces dry. Dip each piece in the honey mixture, coating chicken completely. Lay chicken pieces (skin side up) on a large shallow baking sheet. Spoon any remaining sauce over chicken.
Either place the chicken in a cold oven, turn the heat to 400o F and roast for 1 hour or place in a preheated 375F oven and roast for 45 minutes. If splitting the chicken between two smaller baking sheets, roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and switch the shelf positions of the pans after half the baking time.
Transfer chicken to a warmed serving platter and serve hot, at room temperature or slightly chilled.