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fast family favorite: mall chicken

mall chicken

I’ve been remiss in not promoting one of our all-star crowd pleasing meals, “mall chicken.” That’s what we call Ina Garten’s Indonesian ginger chicken because it’s just like the perfect little bites they entice you with at the mall food court as you attempt to race by unnoticed. I mentioned the recipe a while back, but such a quick, easy, foolproof go-to dish like this one deserves more fanfare! Trumpets! Spotlights! Or at the very least its own post.

I guess the reason I didn’t share mall chicken here before is that I considered it perfect just as Ina invented it. That is, until Jenny Rosenstrach brought another chicken dish into the picture. You may know her already as my favorite food blogger over at Dinner: A Love Story and the writer of the just-released cookbook of the same name. I love her because she’s funny and understands the keys to writing recipes for parents: simple, fast, delicious, healthy. Here she is talking about her new book on NPR.

Jenny’s chicken recipe had been on my list for a while; I liked the idea of replacing Ina’s delicious but time-consuming grated ginger with faster ground ginger. I hadn’t tried the recipe yet, however, both because I rarely cook with wine (we drink it too fast!) and because our meat CSA never includes chicken wings. Something tells me the wimpy wings of an organic, free-range bird are slim pickin’s in the flesh department. ANYwho.

I recently discovered another post where Jenny revamped the recipe to substitute thighs for wings and pomegranate juice for wine. Now she’s talkin’. Take a bit of Ina’s marinade technique, add Jenny’s freshness and ease, and throw in my brilliant decision to swap out pomegranate juice for the syrupy pomegranate molasses I had on hand, and I do believe the mash-up creates the ultimate winner winner chicken dinner. Tangy, sweet enough for munchkins, but still edgy enough to be grown-up finger lickin’ good.

Here’s the best seal of approval I can offer you. I do NOT eat chicken skin, and yet. YET. I found myself crouching over the kitchen sink devouring an entire too-hot drumstick and thigh just after it came out of the oven, skin and all. Right before the Bumpesses’ dogs came in and ate the rest. Just kidding about that last part…but unfortch not kidding about the gluttonous sink-chowing.

Now that I’ve given you that stellar mental image, go forth and create chickeny goodness for your own family. I promise they’ll give you sticky-sweet kisses in return.


mall chicken
imageserves 3-4

1 lb. chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), skin on
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. pomegranate molasses (or reduced juice + add’l 1/3 c. honey)
2 Tbs. honey
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Whisk together all ingredients–except chicken–in a small bowl. Place chicken skin-side-up in a casserole dish. Pour marinade on top and stick in the fridge for about an hour; turn over half-way through marinating.

Preheat oven to 400 degF. Bake chicken still in marinade (now skin-side-down) for 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Discard marinade, flip and transfer chicken to oiled or foil-lined baking sheet (now skin-side-up), and return to oven for 30-45 minutes (ours took 30′). Check part-way through this last cooking process, and when skin is brown, turn heat down to 350 and add a foil tent (note: chicken will continue to darken as it cooks, even with reduced heat/foil combo). Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Prepare to be inundated with praise. You deserve it!

p.s. This is a great recipe to put on the grill. If Boston ever decides to stop this redonk rain and low 50’s (hellllllo, it’s almost summer!!), maybe I’ll try it on the grill too.

p.p.s. Vivi’s verdict: Mmmmmm, sweet! Can I have more when I’m done with this one?

Editor’s note: This post is part of Monday ManiaThe Homestead Barn HopReal Food WednesdayPennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, and Fight Back Friday