Monday, January 14, 2013

A Week of Chicken Part One: Erika's Alaskan Seasoning Blend (garlic, gluten, corn, other things free)

So, the first thing I figured when I sat down and thought of seven days of cooking chicken straight was, "I'd better come up with a new way to season chicken, or my husband is going to get REALLY tired of baked chicken."  Since I baked the chicken in batches (since I couldn't very well cook raw chicken for seven days straight without worry about it going bad, I baked it in different batches to use later) I had to come up with a seasoning blend that could do duty for a lot of different applications. 

I'd been working on this particular seasoning blend for a while.  My husband fell in love with a certain seasoning blend that was being given out with free samples at our local store a while back and when I read the label I got the main ingredients off of it and just started messing with them.  I never could get the blend to taste the same as the one at the store since it had garlic in it as a primary ingredient, but the blend I made was still pretty good.  But, it was missing something. 

I had to make up more of my seasoning blend anyway, so I hit the spice cabinet and did something that some people might think me a bit odd for doing.  I stuck the seasoning blend that I had left under my nose and then started sticking spices under my nose at the same time and got a sniff of both to see if the scents would mesh.  If the scents smelled good together I would put a bit of each on my fingers and then taste them and see what they tasted like together.  And thus is how I found the "little something" my seasoning blend was missing.

So, the moral of the story?  Do NOT omit the coriander in this recipe, even if you don't like it.  Trust me, the blend doesn't taste like coriander and without it in just isn't half as good as with it.

Oh as a side note, the Alaskan seasoning blend thing comes in just because I couldn't think of what to call it.  Since I'm from Alaska and my name is Erika...well it made sense to name it such ;). 

Two quick things.  One:  If you REALLY like to season your food heavy, I suggest removing the salt from any seasoning blend/rub recipe and just adding your salt later at the table or it could seriously start to be a detriment to your blood pressure.  Two:  this recipe will fill a standard sized spice container.  Or at least it fills up my spice tin.  Just so you're aware of how much it makes.

Erika's Alaskan Seasoning Blend (garlic, gluten, corn, other things free)
  • 2 TBS paprika
  • 2 TBS salt (I used Himalayan Pink salt this time around)
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper (I used coarse ground)
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
Combine all items in a container with a tight fitting lid (I use a pint sized mason jar).  Secure lid and shake well to combine.  Fill up your favorite spice container with blend and use on pretty much anything.  I've use it on chicken, beef, name it.

Wonder how to bake chicken with the above seasoning blend?  It's easy!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Take 6 defrosted bone-in chicken thighs (or however many you need).  Place in a baking pan that fits them all (I use a 9x13 baking pan) and pour in a little chicken stock in the bottom of the baking pan around your thighs.  
Sprinkle seasoning blend as liberally as you want on top of the chicken  and then take some of your favorite spray oil (I use olive oil in a Misto bottle) and spray on top of the chicken (if you're worried about knocking off your seasonings you can put the oil on the chicken before the seasonings...I don't have that problem so I don't bother).  Cover the entire pan with aluminum foil (you can put a little vent in to let steam escape, but honestly a lot of the time I forget and it still turns out fine.  Just be sure to open the aluminum foil away from you to prevent steam burns!).  
Bake for about 1 hour or until juices in the chicken run clear and the internal temperature reaches at least 180 degrees.  You can take off the aluminum foil and bake the last 10 minutes uncovered to get a nice crust on the chicken, but it's not necessary.  Remove from oven and let sit uncovered on stove top for an additional 5 to 10 minutes and voila!  Dinner time!
The nice part about the chicken stock in the bottom of the pan is that it'll help your chicken stay moist instead of drying out on you, so if you forget about the chicken for an extra half an hour while you scrub your bathtub (not that I've done that or anything) it'll still turn out okay.

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