>Fırında Tavuk – "Chicken in the Oven"

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My first entry, and one of the first things I learned, is this yummy chicken dish that I learned from my Kaynana (Mother-in-law). When she came to New Jersey to stay with us for a few months, I was glad to have a live-in cook. At the time, I thought “traditional” Turkish cooking was very complicated and time-consuming and was very surprised by the seemingly quick and simple meals we had when she was here. This is one of the meals we requested very often, and something we forgot about until recently. It’s a favorite in my house.

This recipe is modified because I can not remember exactly how she made it, and when I ask her, she makes rough measurements of everything anyways, so keep this in mind when trying it yourself. We also prefer a lot of “sauce” so feel free to adjust the liquid to your personal preferences.

1-2 lbs. chicken (we use drumsticks, but you can do thighs/breasts, or even a whole chicken, cut-up)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. red pepper paste (I have only been able to find this in ethnic markets in my area, it can be             omitted, especially if you would like to keep it mild)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 medium potatoes,peeled and sliced

1 medium onion,peeled/ sliced
1 cup water
*optional- long, hot green peppers
– seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease an oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray. Place sliced poatatoes and onions into dish. Mix tomato paste, pepper paste(optional),olive oil, pinch of salt and water in a small dish. Pour over the potato and onions.
Brush the chicken with seasoning salt(optional), salt/pepper and brown all sides in a cast-iron skillet (my personal favorite). Place the chicken on top of the potato/onion mixture, and arrange hot peppers (if using). Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour.
*the cooking time may vary- I cooked it about another 10 minutes to get it just right for us-it was “done” at 1 hour but keep checking to be sure.

Serve with Rice or Bulgur pilav (I will update with a recipe soon)

You can also use broth to kick up the flavor, and adjust the salt to your personal preferences. One thing I’ve learned from cooking for my Turk is that I never use enough salt- and adding it to the cooked product is frowned upon.

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