Peach and Mint Sunday Chicken

When I was in college, my roommate Pam was the orchestrator of most of our meals.   There were four of us girls in a two bedroom apartment, and we organized ourselves into cooking/shopping and cleaning teams.   We had $30 per week to spend on groceries (don’t  try to figure this out, but suffice it to say we were very frugal and this was a long time ago). We fed ourselves everyday (and our boyfriends at least once or twice a week) on this budget.   To this day, I have Pam’s mom’s recipe for chicken to be served on a Sunday—and we had it during the weekdays even, it was so good (Pam’s Mom’s Sunday Chicken).  It was a tasty sauté/bake deal with cream of mushroom soup, raisins, apples and some other yummy ingredients that were easy for a bunch of 19 year olds to assemble.  Today, though, I think I have my own Sunday chicken recipe. (Maybe No. 1 son will bring it with him to college so it can be “No. 1 Son’s Mom’s Sunday Chicken”).
Use your homemade peach preserves to bump up the flavor.
1 cut up fryer (buy a whole one and cut it up yourself.  This way you save money and can put the back and other parts aside for a scrumptious stock.)
Brine:
  • 3 C peach nectar or juice remaining from canned home peach preserves (that’s what I used)
  • ¼  C apple cider vinegar
  • ½ C dry white wine
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 T diced fresh mint
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced fine

Fry coating:

  •  1 C flour
  • 1/2 C cornstarch
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t crushed red pepper flakes

Other ingredients:

  • 1 C coconut oil (for frying)
  • 4 T mint chiffonaded into thin strips (use more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 C peach preserves/jam
  • ¼ C brandy (if you don’t have it, don’t worry, just skip it)
  • 4 T butter

Mix up brine ingredients and pour over cut up chicken in a glass or plastic container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken midway through to evenly coat.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine the fry coating ingredients and put into a paper bag or a plastic gallon bag.

Get half your oil (1/2   C at a time) shimmering hot in a medium saute pan.   You will add oil into the process as it appears needed.

Remove each piece of chicken from brine (keep the brine!),  shake it to get excess moisture off, dump into the fry coating bag and shake vigorously (you can do 3-4 pieces at a time).  Place gently into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.  This will have to be done in batches. Hint:  cook the thighs and drumsticks together and do them for about 5 minutes per side or more. They take longer to cook than breasts and wings, which should get about 3 minutes per side.  You’re not cooking through, just browning.

Once all the pieces are browned, put into ovenproof dish(es) and into your preheated 350 F. oven.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the thighs are no longer pink.  Set aside to rest on stove top or warmer oven and cover with foil while you make the sauce.

Meanwhile,strain about 2 C of the brine (about half) and put into a saucepan and reduce to about 1 C.  You might need to skim off the scum (because the chicken has released some blood into the marinade earlier).  Once reduced, add jam and brandy when the brine is hot and boiling.  Keep it moving for a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol.  Take off heat and incorporate the butter to thicken.  Pour over chicken.  Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve.

Goes great with classic blue cheese iceberg lettuce wedge and cornbread.  Alternate sides:  cream cheese mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

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