The Simple Sauce That Takes Baked Chicken To the Next Level
We all know that baked (or roasted) chicken is a weeknight staple—it is quick and easy to prepare, fairly healthy, and can be served with almost any side dish. We also know that it can be very, very boring. Especially if it's become a part of your regular weekday dinner rotation. Baked chicken definitely needs a little help in the flavor department.
Enter our Sweet and Spicy Glaze. Made with pepper jelly, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, and hot sauce (we prefer Tabasco), it's just the right mix of hot and sweet and pairs wonderfully with any part of the bird. Our original recipe calls for the glaze to be used with drumsticks, but it's just as tasty with thighs, breasts, and wings. Our recipe makes enough for 2 ½ pounds of chicken.
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Best of all, it comes together in seconds. Just heat up the pepper jelly until it is warm, then whisk in the other ingredients and season with salt and black pepper. (I like doing this step in a large bowl—you'll see why in a second.)
Reserve ¼ cup of the glaze and set it aside. Then, toss the uncooked chicken in the glaze until it is evenly coated. Bake on a sheet pan in the oven as directed until browned on top and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165°F. Cooking times will vary slightly depending on what part of the bird you're using. When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan and brush the chicken with the reserved glaze. Then turn on the broiler and return the pan to the oven for a few minutes, so that the skin becomes sticky and browned.
While you can use any brand of pepper jelly (or even better, the homemade stuff) in the glaze, make sure that it is red, not green. No one wants to eat greenish chicken, no matter how good it tastes.