If only I could find an excuse to put chipotle in everything. Okay, okay, not really, but I do love the stuff, in case you haven’t noticed. (See here, here, and here, just as a small sample) In fact, just about anytime I’m looking for an in-your-face, bold taste, chipotle does the trick. Smoky and spicy, it adds an unbelievable amount of dimension to a dish.
Take chicken, for example. Chicken is nearly a blank canvas, something one flavor with any combination of herbs and spices, and create a seemingly endless number of dishes. Soy, ginger, and garlic? Asian chicken. Oregano, basil, tomato, garlic? Italian chicken. But what about orange juice, chipotle, sage, thyme, and rosemary?
You get chipotle orange-herb chicken.
Not exactly a traditional mix of flavors, but who says we’re trying to be traditional here? Sweet, spicy, smoky, with a nice fresh background flavor from the herbs – this is a tasty chicken that’s sure to please. In addition, if you use cut-up chicken and marinade the night before serving, this dish bakes up quickly enough to make it a weeknight choice. I used a combination of thighs and drumsticks (they were on sale, and I prefer the flavor of dark meat), but of course, you could use any cut you wish. (you could even use boneless, skinless breasts – just lower the cooking time accordingly)
This recipe was inspired by a chipotle orange chicken that Elana shared at Elana’s Pantry. (Elana has a wonderful array of gluten-free recipes.) I increased the amount of chipotle a bit (we like spicy food at the Tasty Eats At Home residence), and I subbed the dried herbes de provence for fresh herbs, but largely left the original recipe in tact. If you have small kids, you might choose to lower the chipotle, but this should be a great family-pleaser, one that is easy on you, too! I served this dish with a generous helping of steamed asparagus with lemon zest (recipe to come soon, stay tuned!).
Chipotle Orange-Herb Chicken, adapted from Elana’s Pantry
4 lbs bone-in, cut-up chicken, or a combination of thighs and drumsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t chopped fresh rosemary needles
1/2 t fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 c agave nectar or honey
1 t kosher salt
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
juice of 2 oranges
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a 9X13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, mix garlic, herbs, agave, salt, chipotle, and orange juice. Pour over chicken, turning chicken over to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for minimum of an hour, up to overnight.
Remove from refrigerator, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.