Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Honey-Sesame Chicken For Two ~ Roasted Chicken with a Light, Lemon-Honey-Sesame Glaze

That old saying, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach," definitely applies to my husband. He's tall and thin with a voracious appetite. Lucky him, right? One of his favorite Sunday night suppers is simple, roasted chicken. What is it about a humble, chicken dinner that makes us feel so good? Juicy, golden-brown chicken with a fluffy baked potato and a crisp salad is just the thing we need after a long stressful week. When the days turn shorter and brisker here in New England, we slip on our warm PJs and eat our Sunday supper by flickering candlelight. Whether you're married, single or somewhere in between, I highly recommend it. It's relaxing and soul-satisfying.

Sometimes, I roast a whole chicken, other times just parts. We eat a lot of chicken around here. We live just outside of Boston, where the winters are long. When cabin-fever strikes, there's nothing like sitting down to a comfy, Sunday dinner to lifts our spirits. The savory aroma coming from the kitchen is enough to bring smiles to our faces.  

I'm always looking for different ways to prepare chicken. This past Sunday, two large chicken breasts were roasted and glazed with a light, honey-sesame sauce. A squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice added a bright, citrus tang. The slightly-sweet, mildly-tart glaze helped to crisp and brown the chicken. Sesame seeds and honey are a classic Middle Eastern combo. They'll be best friends forever. They worked well together on this chicken dish.    

I served the chicken with baked potatoes and my quinoa tabbouhleh salad (pictured below.) My lime-kissed Persian salad is also a good choice here. Click on links to view the recipes:
A simple green salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil would also go nicely with this chicken. 

We often eat roasted chicken with baked potatoes after church. I prep the chicken and potatoes beforehand, so it's ready and waiting for me to pop in the oven when we get home. Typically, the potatoes take longer to cook than the chicken, especially if you have really large Idaho potatoes. Wrap the potatoes in foil, pierce them with a fork and put them in a 425 degree F oven before the chicken. Let the potatoes bake for about 30 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, get the chicken ready. Then put the chicken in the oven with the potatoes and continue cooking them. The potatoes will be done when the chicken is done.

Honey-Sesame Chicken for Two Recipe 

Some Notes:

You can change up this chicken recipe in many different ways. You can replace the sesame seeds with a sprinkling of silvered almonds, or omit the sesame seeds all together. A honey-lemon-thyme or honey-lemon-rosemary glaze would be delicious too. Add any fresh or dried herbs at the end of cooking in place of the sesame seeds. 

I used very large chicken breasts in this recipe, they took about 45 minutes in a very hot oven. All ovens are different, so adjust the time accordingly. Also, adjust the time depending on the size of the chicken breasts. They should be lightly golden brown, juicy and tender when done. 

You may notice that some of the honey has darkened on the foil on the bottom of the pan. Don't worry about it. The tinfoil is there to protect your pan and make it easier to clean up. Discard the foil when cooled.  

I like to serve this chicken with lemon wedges and a little bit of ground Aleppo pepper for added heat.    

You'll Need:
  • 2 large, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 generous tablespoons of honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 2 lemons
  • Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Ground Aleppo Pepper or red chili pepper flakes (optional)

The Rundown:
Line an oven safe baking or roasting pan with a couple of sheets of tinfoil. You need the foil to protect the pan from the honey as it cooks. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in the foil-lined pan. Add some cracked pepper and the olive oil. Rub and coat the chicken with the oil and pepper. Put the pan in the fridge for a few hours if you're not cooking it immediately, tented loosely with foil. When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the chicken out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before putting it in the oven. Remove the foil tent and discard, add salt on both sides of the chicken. Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn up the heat to 450 degrees and roast for an additional 5- 20 minutes, depending on their size. 5-10 minutes before the chicken is done, drizzle a tablespoon of honey over each breast, along with the sesame seeds and a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice. When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes loosely tented with foil. Serve with a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper and a wedge of lemon. Enjoy! 


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