One of the things I love most about Jewish holidays is the emphasis on special and wonderful food (though, to be fair, we make pretty much everything about special and wonderful food). Golden, warm challah, tender brisket, moist, delicious kugel--we're a people that likes to eat.
Next week (Wednesday evening, to be exact) marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (and the first of the High Holy Days). A classic dish on the Rosh Hashanah table is roast chicken, which, for me usually means my Third Date Chicken, or my Best Ever Roast Chicken Legs, but this year I want to shake it up a bit. Or, more precisely, spice it up a bit.
Jewish cooking is all about making meaning with food (just look at a Passover seder plate to see what I mean), so this year, I'm making meaning with chicken. Honey is a traditional food used on Rosh Hashanah, intended to symbolize the sweetness of a new year.
So, by that logic, honey blended with garlic and ripe, just-spicy-enough jalapeño chiles and brushed onto juicy (and affordable!) chicken legs, roasted until the meat is outrageously tender and the skin is sticky-sweet and crisp (with just enough heat to keep it interesting) should symbolize a downright incredible year to come.
This chicken is crazy easy to make and it's even easier to double or triple the recipe. Though I prefer it hot out of the oven, it's delicious at room temperature, or even cold the next day. The jalapeño cooks down with the garlic and honey into a sticky almost-jam, glazing the chicken legs with spicy, garlicky sweetness, and turning them a gorgeous dark brown.
Serve the chicken with a roasted vegetable or two, homemade challah, and maybe my friend Tori Avey's Honey Apple Cake for dessert, and you're looking at a year (or, at the very least, a meal) that is simply unstoppable.
- 1 jalapeño, de-stemmed and chopped (remove the seeds if you are sensitive to heat) $0.25
- 1/4 cup honey Pantry
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped Pantry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt Pantry
- 2 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) $6
Recipe Serves 2
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the jalapeño, honey, garlic and salt. Puree until mostly smooth (it's OK if there are a few small chunks of jalapeño left).
- Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
- Use a pastry brush or a spoon to slather 2/3 of the honey-jalapeño mixture all over the chicken pieces (reserve 1/3 for later).
- Roast the chicken for 25 minutes, then brush or spoon on the remaining honey-jalapeño mixture and roast for another 14-17 minutes, until the chicken skin is golden-brown and crisp and the meat is cooked through.
- Let the chicken legs rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.