Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken - My Way

Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken, traditionally made with bone-in chicken thighs, red Russian style dressing and apricot preserves.
Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken, made with bone-in chicken thighs, red Russian style dressing, apricot preserves and a homemade onion seasoning.

Sweet and Tangy Russian Chicken

This 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, onion soup mix, red Russian style dressing and apricot preserves, which in my humble opinion, is the way to go, though 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 salt, 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 is made with a red Russian Dressing, like this Wish-Bone brand. I find that any red Catalina style dressing works too if you have a hard time finding the Russian dressing. The Russian dressing has a deeper red color, while the Catalina style dressing produce a more orange color.


Russian Chicken is also usually made using apricot preserves, but I've often substituted whatever I had on hand. Use the homemade version of onion soup mix in the recipe or sub in a packet of the dry mix if you'd rather. Just remember to adjust any added salt though!


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, depending on the size of the thighs, 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. If you use other cuts of chicken, the total time will depend on that also. Serve the chicken over hot, cooked rice, skim off excess fat from the top of the drippings and spoon sauce over the top.


Russian chicken made with Catalina dressing and some peach and pepper jelly. As you can see it gives a more orange result. 

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
Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) bottle red Russian style dressing
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon beef base (like Better than Bouillon), or granulated bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Hot, cooked rice
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil for easier clean-up. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and place into the baking dish. Whisk together the dressing, preserves and remaining ingredients (except rice). 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 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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Cook's Notes: May substitute one packet of onion soup mix for the onions flakes through seasoned salt. Any Catalina style or red-based French style dressing may be used, as well as peach preserves, pepper jelly, pineapple preserves or your favorite jam. May also substitute a small can of cranberry sauce for the preserves. Okay to substitute a whole cut up chicken or other bone-in 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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Posted by on April 9, 2013
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