|Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken, traditionally made with bone-in chicken thighs, red Russian style dressing and apricot preserves.|
Sweet and Tangy Russian ChickenThis recipe is a real throw back to way back that some of you might remember. Grab an old church, community or junior league cookbook, and its bound to be in there somewhere, though often called by other names and sometimes simply called Apricot Chicken.
Traditionally made with bone-in chicken thighs, red Russian style dressing and apricot preserves, I've messed around with it over the years, finding that pretty much any red style dressing works just as well, along with a multitude of preserves, jams or jellies. Sweet and tangy, almost reminiscent of our BBQ down this way, it's really a great recipe that's as easy as it comes, though a bit messy.
Here's how to make it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 inch, or slightly larger baking pan, with aluminum foil for easier clean-up. I just used my enameled cast iron Dutch oven here, which then required a soak afterward.
Season about 6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs on both sides with pepper and Cajun seasoning and place into the baking dish. I had a bag of 5 nice sized, meaty thighs in the freezer that I had separated from a larger family sized pack that was on sale, so that's what I used.
Traditionally, Russian Chicken was made with a red Russian Dressing, like this Wish-Bone brand.
Although I do believe it is still made, it's been difficult to find over the years, so folks started substituting other dressings in its place. I find that any red Catalina style dressing works well, and I grabbed this one last time I was at the store to make this. How could the addition of bacon flavor be wrong?
Russian Chicken was also usually made using apricot preserves, but I've often substituted whatever I had on hand. Last year I canned some peach and pepper jelly so that's what I used this time, but you can vary it according to your own likes or what you have on hand. You'll need to add in an envelope of dry onion soup mix to that and whisk it all together. Of course, use your own version of homemade onion soup mix here if you prefer.
Pour half of the dressing over the top, turn chicken to coat all sides and return skin side up. Pour remaining dressing mixture on top.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours, turning several times, until chicken is cooked through and registers 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Total time will depend on the size of the thighs, or whatever other cuts of chicken that you use. Serve the chicken over hot, cooked rice, skim off excess fat from the top of the drippings and spoon sauce over the top.
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Recipe: Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs
- Freshly cracked black pepper and Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
- 1 (16 ounce) bottle of red Russian, Catalina style or any red-based French style dressing
- 1 (10 ounce) jar of apricot or peach preserves, pepper jelly, pineapple or your favorite jam
- 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
- Hot, cooked riceInstructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil for easier clean-up. Season chicken on both sides with pepper and Cajun seasoning and place into the baking dish. Whisk together the dressing, preserves or jam and onion soup mix. Pour half of the dressing over the top, turn chicken to coat all sides and return skin side up. Pour remaining dressing mixture on top.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours, turning several times, until chicken is cooked through and registers 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Total time will depend on the size of the thighs. Skim off excess fat from drippings and spoon sauce over individual servings of chicken. Serve the chicken over hot, cooked rice, skim off excess fat from the top of the drippings and spoon sauce over the top and add a green veggie or salad on the side.
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May also substitute a small can of cranberry sauce for the preserves. I used Kraft Tangy Bacon Catalina Dressing and Marinade and peach and pepper jam that I canned last summer. Okay to substitute a whole cut up chicken or other cuts of chicken, adjusting time as needed. Remove skin from chicken, if desired, to reduce accumulated fat. Remove chicken and shred it, and return to the skimmed sauce to use as pulled chicken on sandwiches and tacos.
Slow Cooker: Remove skin from chicken, if desired, to reduce accumulated fat in the crockpot. Season chicken on both sides with pepper and Cajun seasoning or cayenne. Place skin side down in the cooker. Pour the dressing mixture around and over the chicken, turn to coat, cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or low for 6 to 8 hours for thighs, though Actual time will be dependent on cut and size of chicken used; boneless, skinless chicken breasts will be done in a much shorter time.
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