As I’m typing this, I’m flying somewhere over the Midwest, on the first leg of a very long journey. The exciting news I’ve been holding back? I’m headed on a two-week adventure to the country of Taiwan. I have one mission and only one mission: to eat my way across the island, and report back with stories and recipes from the frontlines. Not a bad assignment, right?! I’m so excited to learn about this interesting cuisine – a combination of traditional Chinese, aboriginal, and Japanese flavors, with a hint of modern Western influences. Over the course of my stay I’ll be touring twenty-four hour night markets, chilling out in teahouses, and pushing my limits with famous Taiwanese chefs. True Asian cuisine is definitely outside my usual realm of food knowledge, so it’s going to be a learning experience, for sure.
I’ll be back soon with plenty of tales from across the globe. Until then, I leave you with a recipe for the one and only Sticky Chicken. I first experienced Sticky Chicken at a Thompson family reunion (where else?). One bite and I was hooked. A savory sweet sauce, melt-in-your-mouth chicken thighs, and buttery rice to soak up all the juices. I mean, what’s not to like?
But what’s the secret to the decadent sauce? You won’t believe it till you try it. Jarred apricot preserves, powdered onion soup mix, and a bottle of Russian salad dressing. No, I’m not even kidding. Actually, I’d passed this recipe on quite a few occasions while browsing my many Junior League cookbooks, often lovingly titled Chicken with Duck Sauce or Apricot Chicken. I often wondered, who are these people kidding? But I retracted my stern judgment once I had my first taste. Y’all, this stuff is just plain good.
Now I don’t go out of my way to keep the three key ingredients on hand (I’m usually a from-scratch kind of gal), but they are worth seeking out for Sticky Chicken, even if just this once. I figure a little processed home cooking can’t be that bad every now and then, especially when it comes from a place of love. Judge if you want, but it’s your loss.
So it only seemed ironic fitting to toast my Asian eating adventure with Sticky Chicken. It may not be fancy, and it’s definitely not authentic, but it sure does hit the spot. It’s with a full belly now that I await my next meal. There may be duck sauce in my future, but I doubt there will be a package of onion soup mix in sight. I can’t wait!
Source: Tina Thompson
Serves: 4 – 6 (and hopefully a little for leftovers)
Mix of chicken pieces (I used 1 package thighs and 1 package legs)
1 cup (8 ounces) apricot preserves
1 package dried onion soup mix
1 (16 ounce) bottle Russian dressing (I used Ken’s Steakhouse)
Cooked white rice
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange the chicken pieces in the bottom of a heavy casserole dish. Mix together the apricot preserves, onion soup mix, and Russian dressing and pour over the chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours until chicken is cooked through and fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve over cooked white rice with lots of extra sauce.