October 9, 2014

Sticky Chicken

Nanny used to make something we called sticky chicken. She’d brown some chicken pieces in hot oil in a cast iron skillet, add a little water, and let the chicken slow cook until it was done. The skin would be sticky and the meat would just fall off the bone.

I wanted to make something like it this weekend but changed it up a bit by making sort of a thin barbeque sauce for the chicken and finished it all off in the oven.

Nanny’s chicken always had red glazed look to it and I remember a touch of sweetness too but Mama swears she didn't use any sauce or marinade.

I’m not so sure. Nanny was a hot mess. And I wouldn't put it past her to withhold important information from her Yankee daughter-in-law.

Nanny lived a quarter mile from us down a two-rut road that cut through the fields. I went to her house almost every single day of my life once I was old enough to walk.

She and I were buds. And I think she liked to mess with Mama. I told you – Nanny was a booger. I remember her plaiting my hair one day with five hundred thousand million tiny braids and sending me home with a “tell your mama to have fun getting all them plaits out”.

Oh lawwww. What a mess. But that’s why I’m thinking there might have been more to her chicken than salt and pepper. I decided to marinate mine and then use the marinade to make a thin sauce for the chicken to “stew” in while it cooked.

As I sit here typing this up, Mama literally just emailed me this photo of Nanny's engagement announcement. Out of nowhere. She has absolutely no idea I'm writing about Nanny, much less that I'm doing it right now. Phew-wee! I've got goosebumps!

I think Nanny wanted her picture published is what I think. And she "sent" this to me. Just now. Seriously, what are the odds? Thank you Regina who sent it to Leona who sent it to Mama who sent it to me right at this very moment. I've never ever even seen this picture. Wasn't she beautiful?

Well, Nanny, if you're listening, I miss you very much and I think about you all the time. Especially when I'm cooking. I remember that green stool you used to make me sit on when you were cooking so I'd keep out of your way. And playing rummy on the back porch for hours. And the plum trees and maypops. And spending the night with you all the time - you never said no when I'd ask. And riding with you to Aunt June's. And watching the "stories" together in your recliner.

Wow. How bizarre.

And awesome.

OK, back to the recipe...

Don’t let the dark color scare you. This isn't burnt but it will get pretty dark due to the honey in the sauce. And that sauce is delicious! I set the skillet right on the table when it was time to eat and kept dunking my chicken in the sauce to sop it up.

Southern Sticky Chicken slow cooks in an easy sauce in a cast iron skillet. The chicken braises in a slightly sweet tangy sauce and is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Southern Sticky Chicken slow cooks in an easy sauce in a cast iron skillet. The chicken braises in a slightly sweet tangy sauce and is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Sticky Chicken
8-10 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs*
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce**
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Add chicken to a large zip-top bag or resealable container. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well then pour over chicken. Marinate chicken for 6-10 hours (or overnight).

Heat a large cast iron skillet (see below for alternate preparation also) over medium heat. Add just enough vegetable oil to skillet to coat the bottom. Once oil and pan are hot, add chicken pieces, reserving marinade. The honey in the marinade can burn if you cook these too hot so be sure to have your temperature at medium – hot enough to bubble and sizzle but not hot enough to scorch the chicken. Cook chicken on all sides until browned. We’re not trying to cook the chicken through, just sear it.

Pour marinade into skillet. Place skillet, uncovered, in oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, basting chicken pieces 3-4 times during the hour.

Alternate Preparation
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or a frying pan big enough to fit all the chicken pieces, don’t worry! Just brown the chicken in batches in any sturdy skillet. Transfer browned chicken to a 13x9 baking dish, pour the reserved marinade into the dish and bake and baste per recipe.

*I wouldn't recommend boneless, skinless chicken or chicken breasts for this as I think they would surely dry out. If you try it anyway, reduce oven time to 35-45 minutes. But don’t fuss at me if it’s dry.

**I promise this doesn't make it spicy. I used hot sauce because it has vinegar in it and we needed a little acid to balance the sweetness of the honey.


PRINTABLE RECIPE

Southern Sticky Chicken slow cooks in an easy sauce in a cast iron skillet. The chicken braises in a slightly sweet tangy sauce and is fall-off-the-bone tender.


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40 comments:

  1. Thank you!
    --Yvonne Wakefield

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  2. Wow, this looks amazing. And your grandmother is a stunner!!

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  3. Got it marinating now cant wait to see how it turns our. Making summer squash and rice or rosemary roasted potatoes to go with it

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  4. Tears came to my eyes as I ate this rememberin' my Nana making something so very similar to this when I was young. It too was red. Why? She never told. But this reminded me quick as a wink how much I miss her Thanks.

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  5. Love your stories about your younger years! Keep 'em coming. This recipe is one I'm going to try this weekend. We eat a LOT of legs and thighs as they are the cheapest meat right now and because my husband can't eat much more than chicken. No beef, very little pork or seafood. So I'm always trying to find recipes that he can eat with chicken and this one sounds so delicious!

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  6. Mandy, you just made my day! As soon as I saw the word "plaits", my maw maw sprang to mind - thank you! By the time I got to the recipe, I had completely forgotten that there was going to be one...I felt like I was just sitting around "talking" to a friend. Then my students came back from band and orchestra and I remembered where I was. Thank you for the sweet memories - and your Nanny was gorgeous!

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    1. When Husband read this he asked, "What are plaits?" But he pronounce it "plates". Bless his Canadian heart.

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  7. Those stinker grandmas! Just a little salt and pepper! Yea right!! My hubby's sweet, tiny, grandma was known for her cooking. When we got married, I literally had to ask how to boil hotdogs (the only cooking I had ever done was in our fancy new toy, a microwave...and we didn't have one at our new house). So I asked sweetie little grandma to please share her recipes with me so my hubby wouldn't starve to death. While everything was ok at best, I thought I just wasn't a very good cook. Nothing tasted quite the same as hers. Well, after the sweet old girl passed, I got all of her cookbooks and hand written recipes. Well that sweet little thing was a GIANT liar!!!! She either changed or left out seasonings, cooking times...you name it!! So just think of it this way... Out there is a gaggle of grannies hiding the secret of "What makes the chicken red?". "Just a little salt and pepper" my hind end!!

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    1. LOL! Sounds like she was a hot mess too!

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    2. My grandma did the same to me! LOL

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  8. Mandy, this dish sounds wonderful! I am hesitant to make it because I have read numerous times that you shouldn't use a marinade for cooking. I guess this is because it came in contact with the raw meat. What do you think? Someone please reply to this, pretty please?

    PS I think that you are hysterical! I love your stories, the names that you give to family and friends, and your JOKES! One more question; what do Canadians think of US southerners? I know what yankees think of us.....lol

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    1. Well, that is true but only if the marinade isn't cooked. So long as you're cooking it through (like we are in this recipe), it will be perfectly safe.

      Canadians think we eat too much! Ha! Husband's family thinks I have some sort of disorder, I'm sure. They just don't realize how much food and cooking and fellowship is part of our culture.

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    2. Canadians are made up of many different ethnicities; we celebrate that but also celebrate being a Canadian first. Speak to a French Canadian or an Italian Canadian or a Polish Canadian- food; family and fellowship is as much a part of our identities as it is yours; lol. AS it is everywhere I am sure that there are people who try to eat more healthfully thus switch up traditional recipes and choose to have them less often or with smaller servings :D

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  9. Nanny is Gaw-jus! -You look just like her! Beautiful lady!

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  10. Your grandma looks like the actress Faye Dunaway!

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  11. I made this last night and the entire family loved it! I actually made more chicken than the recipe called for so whipped up an extra batch of marinade to add to the dish for basting. I have made several of your recipes and have loved every one of them. I love the fact that your recipes are written as if you are talking to a friend and they are so easy to understand AND everything I have tried comes out exactly as you have pictured!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it and I thank you again for the compliment on the recipe writing. I write like I talk :o)

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  12. I love that you said plaiting! My mom used to call it that all the time. I will definitely be cooking this tonight, thank you for the goodness!

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    1. I'm glad so many of you knew what that meant! I hope you enjoyed the chicken!

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    2. I just had to reply to this since I'm cooking this the umpteenth time, two years later but never late lol. My fiance loves this dish and is always asking me to make it. Thank you again Mandy for such delicious dishes and heartfelt memories - from my kitchen to yours

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  13. Mandy, I just stumbled across your blog recently and I love it! I'm a pretty terrible cook (or a fair cook with an incredibly picky husband - whichever way you want to look at it) and I'm hoping to try many of your recipes. Love the stories too and your Nanny is beautiful!!

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    1. Thank you!! I'm sure you cook just fine! Don't let the picky eaters deter you!

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  14. This was wonderful and it turned out just like the picture!!! Thank you!!

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  15. What kind of hot sauce would you recommend? Siracha?

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  16. Hi this looks so delicious, but what brand of hot sauce do you use?

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  17. Haha ok i just saw you recently answered my exact question.... Happy holidays

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  18. I just did a pinterest search for skillet chicken, and one of your delicious photos showed up! I loved reading your post - there's nothing like family recipes that give you warm memories. Nanny's sticky chicken sounds like the perfect recipe to make any night of the week, or for guests for game day! I can't wait to dive in!

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  19. I saw your notation about using chicken breasts, but I'm wondering if anyone else has tried the recipe with breasts. :)

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  20. I'm making this tomorrow for Memorial Day dinner! I just mixed the marinade. I'll add my chicken in morning. Can't wait to try this!

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  21. Hello The recipe sounds so good but my question is... Because I want to cook it for dinner for the family but I have a seven month old that can't eat honey, can I replace it with something else or just take it out... She loves to eat and wants to eat everything you have... Lol little ones love them too pieces

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    1. Molasses would be great (it will be darker but that's OK) or even corn syrup would work!

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  22. This looks delicious! Making for dinner tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

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  23. I know this recipe was posted over a year ago, but I just came acrossed it (don't know how, I've read through just about everything on your site!) but wanted you to know that I CAN NOT wait to try this! This chicken looks delicious and I too had a mother in law that liked to keep her secret recipes up her sleeve ;)

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  24. Hi Mandy! My husband and I spent some time down south (Georgia) and really enjoyed the food, so I was so excited to find your blog. We are having this for supper tonight (again-3rd time so far...)It's nice to find authentic southern recipes that I can make here in Kansas. Thank you so much!!!

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  25. Being born and raised in the South (but not living there now), I loved "maypops" SOO much. Thanks for bringing back that sweet memory.

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  26. I'm adding this to my meal menu for the next couple weeks. I need a side suggestion for it. I saw potatoes or rice. Any other ideas that'd be good?

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  27. Ive made this 2 or 3 times already and its legit! thanks

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Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy

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