Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vicki's Hawaiian Chicken and Kielbasa Lentil Soup - 3/19/11

Vicki's Hawaiian Chicken

This is it, the original easy company dinner for new marrieds! 
Still as good today as it was in 1975.

1 chicken, cut up into 4 to 8 pieces
1 jar apricot preserves
¼ cup soy sauce
a dash of onion powder

Mix preserves, soy sauce and onion powder in a baking dish.  Place chicken in the dish skin side down.  Bake at 375 degrees for one hour, turning halfway through baking time.  Baste occasionally after turning.  Chicken should be nicely glazed.  Move to a serving dish, remove excess fat from the sauce, and pass additional sauce on the side.  Serve with rice and a green salad.

The easiest way to remove the fat from the sauce is to let it chill for a while.  The fat will rise to the top and harden and come right out.  The cooled sauce will become very thick, so reheat it carefully.

The only other recipe I've seen that is similar is this Apricot Glazed Chicken dish from Dave Lieberman.  It's very good, but I still like Vicki's version a little bit better.  Maybe it's the soy sauce ...  incidentally, when I make Dave's recipe, I like to add a can of well-drained apricot halves, but your mileage may vary.  You can kind of see my Apricot Glazed Chicken along the back of the stove in the picture above.  Vicki has been known to add some canned pineapple to her chicken, and I like that version too, but my son is "no-go" on pineapple.

Kielbasa Lentil Soup
This is actually an update of a Weight Watcher's recipe that Vicki and I shared over 30 years ago. Those were the days when Weight Watchers made muffins with ground up bread crumbs and dry powdered milk, but this recipe was straight forward, real ingredients. It is homey and delicious and filling. The original recipe used knockwurst, but what's available in the markets today is a pale imitation of the garlicky knockwurst of my chubby youth, and so I've switched to kielbasa.  Today I used the new polska kielbasa made by Nathan's - like the hot dog - and it is leaner and smokier than Hillshire Farms.  Very good.

Read this recipe through all the way before starting to cook.  Start your lentils cooking before anything else.

2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes
3 packets Sazon Goya Sin Achiote
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil
pinch of sugar

Combine the above ingredients in a large stockpot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn't scorch on the bottom.  If needed, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid (see below), bring it back up to heat, and continue cooking till done.

1-1 lb. bag lentils, cooked according to instructions on bag using 8 cups of water
Reserved lentil cooking liquid
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1- 1 lb. ring kielbasa or smoked sausage
kosher salt, coarse black pepper
Tabasco sauce

To the reserved cooking liquid, add enough water to equal 4 1/2 cups.  Then add this liquid to the pot along with the cooked lentils, wine vinegar, and bay leaves.  Season with the salt, pepper and a few drops of Tabasco to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning.  I usually add a little more granulated garlic and thyme at this point.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the kielbasa, cover and simmer 20 minutes more.  Remove the kielbasa and cut into any size slice you like.  I halve the sausage the long way, then cut 1/2 inch slices.  Return the kielbasa to the pot, and adjust the seasoning if needed.  Heat gently another 5 minutes, then serve.  There are at least 12 servings in there.  All you need is bread and butter and maybe a bib.

Cook like there's nobody watching, and eat like it's heaven on earth.

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