I don’t like bland food. And chicken is one of those meats that needs to be seasoned generously. At least this is my experience here in the U.S. The chickens are lacking in flavors. And this may explains why it is common to see chickens sold in the supermarkets having labels that say: “injected with chicken broth to enhance flavors.” Huh. Why?
I usually avoid this type of chicken. Because I don’t know what flavors have been injected into the chicken. And I much rather know. So I buy the plain ole chickens with no flavor enhancements. And seasoned them myself.
When I was a young girl, we had several chickens running around in our yard. And on special occasion, we would feast on one of these chickens. We would have to catch the chicken, the night before, while the chicken is asleep. Usually, up on a tree branch.
I remember the chicken tasting so good…
The chicken we ate was organic and fresh that it didn’t need plenty of seasoning. In fact, we only had salt and lemon grass. It’s either that the chicken tasted so good. Or, that we did not eat much poultry or other meats. So that when eat meat, our senses are awakened. We inhaled the sweet aroma. We savored every bite. And we licked the bones clean!
And we were hungry for more.
During those days, I especially loved chicken livers. Each time we’d kill a chicken, I’d asked dad if I could have the livers. “Please, please, Tatay… Can I have the livers? Nobody should get them but me! I demanded.” I didn’t care for the other parts. I only liked the livers!
Later I found out. The chicken livers I thought I was getting, weren’t livers. They were chicken blood! Chicken blood! I was shocked. I felt cheated!
But for several years, until I was in my teens. I thought I was eating livers. Then one day, I ask my dad: “Tatay… why there are plenty of livers on our chicken…?” “Oh. They’re not livers. They’re blood. Chicken blood. They just looked like livers once they’re cooked.” Tatay replied.
Chicken blood dropped into the boiling soup, in the pot. Once it’s cooked, the large droplets of blood clumped into a liver like specimen.
We only had the luxury to feast on a single, mature chicken. And I always wonder why there seems to be a number of livers floating in the pot.
But I liked the livers. I mean the blood. No. The livers! They tasted so good. I didn’t know they were blood. I thought they were chicken livers. Tasty chicken livers!
But then I had another revelation…
Back in 1996, 15 years ago, when we went home to the Philippines . Willie and I were on a protein diet. So we ate mostly meats: pork and chicken. I noted a great difference in taste on the chicken and pork meats.
Our maid was cooking the chicken and pork simply. Pan fried, with minimal seasonings – salt and black pepper. Yet, it tasted so good. It was shockingly good. Tastier and more flavorful compared to the ones we were consuming back in Okinawa, Japan. The ones we buy at the USAF Commissary. The Tyson Chickens from Arkansas.
What’s the difference? A lot. I’m sure. Farming methods. Feeds. Etc. And I could probably write another blog on these issues. But I’m not going to do that, so I’ll just stop here.
But here’s one fact: I often wish the chickens and pork here in America would taste as good… and flavorful as the chickens and pork I have eaten in the Philippines. I kept wishing…
Lemon Baked Chicken. This is a fairly simple chicken recipe that’s full of goodness. It is lemony. And good. Real good!
Lined up in a heavy duty baking sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil. Or you can use a large glass baking pan.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice drizzled all over the chicken. And generously seasoned with herbs and spices.
Lemon Baked Chicken :
6 pieces Chicken leg quarters
Juices of 2 large lemons (about ½ – ¾ cup)
1 whole lemon – thinly sliced
1 TBSP. kosher salt
1 TBSP. Spanish paprika
2 tsps. Garlic granules
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 TBSPs. olive or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash chicken and pat them dry. Place in a large glass or ceramic baking pan.
Drizzle half of the lemon juice over the chicken leg quarters on one side.
In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, garlic granules, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle half of this seasoning over the chicken.
Turn the chicken over to the other side and drizzle the remaining half of the lemon juices. Sprinkle the remaining half of the seasoning.
Scatter the thinly sliced lemon over the chicken pieces, and drizzle olive or vegetable oil.
Bake chicken in a preheated oven at 350°F for one and a half (1½ ) hours.
Serve warm with sauce drizzled over the chicken.
Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:
#1 – Allow the chicken to marinate in lemon juice and spices for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator, before baking. This process allows the chicken to absorb lots of flavor from the lemons and spices. Which makes a great difference in enhancing the flavors of the chicken.
#2 – Freshly squeezed lemon juice. Please. Do not use the bottled, artificial lemon juice.
#3 – The herbs and spices. All the herbs and spices give the chicken plenty of flavors.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!