Friday, May 25, 2012

H is for: Honey, Honey Dijon Chicken {with Ras el Hanout}

Remember those commercials in the '80's for a cereal called "Nut 'N Honey"? It featured a married couple at breakfast where the husband asks "What's for breakfast?" and the wife replies: "Nut 'N Honey" but he thinks she's saying "Nothin' honey."

Why am I bringing up a discontinued cereal from my childhood? Because it was (sort of) the inspiration behind the name of the delicious chicken dish I made this week.

Not too long ago, there was a recipe from the Trader Joe's Cookbook called Man Pleasing Chicken making the rounds on Pinterest. Before I had even heard of it, I decided I was making a honey dijon chicken for "H" week. Since my version is somewhat similar (uses honey instead of maple syrup), I decided to call it "Honey, Honey Chicken," as in...make this delicious chicken for the honey in your life! And when he or she asks what's for dinner, you can say "Honey, Honey!" (OK, bad joke, I know)

This was one of those days where I just sort of dumped things in a bowl and tweaked until it tasted the way I wanted. I ended up combining raw wildflower honey, Dijon mustard, a little soy sauce and some lemon juice. And then I threw in a wild card in the way of a spice called "Ras El Hanout." It's a Moroccan spice blend that literally means "head of the shop," referring to the best spices a seller has to offer. I'm guessing it's a different blend depending on where you purchase, but it commonly includes coriander, cumin, tumeric, ground chili peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. The particular blend I used also had a little Lavender in it, which goes great with the honey. The result was an earthy, rich, and exotic flavor that made an ordinary piece of chicken extraordinary. If you can't find ras el hanout, you can just use your favorite spices, or omit this ingredient altogether, as I'm sure this dish will be tasty with or without it (though I prefer it with).

Also, let's talk about the chicken for a minute. I know I said this about harissa earlier in the week, but I'm OBSESSED with chicken thighs at the moment. They are SOOOOOOOOO much tastier than chicken breasts. Like worlds better. They are also really hard to screw up. I feel like chicken breasts are so touchy and can easily be overcooked or dried out, especially in the oven. Not the case with the chicken thighs. Also, they are cheaper than chicken breasts. I like to buy these organic ones at Costco. They come with 3 pouches, and there are about 6 small pieces of chicken in each pouch. I think each pouch is enough to feed 3 people, so that's what I based the calorie information on that I list below. I marinated the chicken for a bit, but you could totally skip that step if you are pressed for time.

From there, just bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes until they are cooked through, basting periodically with the sauce. I served mine over brown rice with a side of fava beans and leeks. I'm so happy with how these turned out. In fact, I liked them so much that I actually made them TWICE this week. So, needless to say, you should definitely give them a try...with or without the ras el hanout. Your "honey" will thank you! :)

Honey, Honey Dijon Chicken with Ras El Hanout

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: bake roast entree chicken dijon mustard honey ras el hanout

  • 1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup raw wildflower honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (Tamari for gluten free)
  • Juice from 1/2 of Meyer lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Trim excess fat and tendons from chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together honey, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, ras el hanout, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.
  3. If marinating, combine half of the sauce mixture and chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in fridge for 2 hours or at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Liberally coat a rectangular baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken thighs in dish and cover with sauce.
  5. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through (or internal temperature of 160 degrees), regularly basting chicken with the sauce during cooking. Serve over rice with extra sauce spooned over the top and garnish with cilantro.
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  1. Carmen SF Giant FanMay 26, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    This looks awesome and I totally agree. Chicken Thighs are so much better!


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