People say that January is a month of Mondays. The big ugh at the beginning of the week, or in this case, the year, when it seems like there’s so much to do and accomplish. And it still gets dark out early in the day. And it’s cold and snowy and blowy and all you want to do is stay home where you’re warm and relax and maybe read a book or play a game or watch an old movie. But you can’t because it’s Monday or January and there’s so much to do.
I know lots of people who head for spots where there’s warmer weather when January comes.
I’m not one of them.
But that’s okay. Long ago I read a magazine article that suggested making “tropical” kinds of food on days (weeks, months) like this. You know, to sort of lift your spirits by pretending you’re on some beautiful beach at some swell resort. Like in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” when the Baileys can’t make it to their honeymoon destination and their friends put up posters of tropical paradises so they make believe they’re actually in one of them.
The magazine article included a terrific bunch of recipes, including one for “Tropical Chicken.”
I don’t remember the magazine and don’t have the original recipe. But I do remember the advice. And I wrote down the ingredients and instructions (although I’ve changed it from time to time over the year). I’ve made this dish many times over the years.
So, here it is: Tropical Chicken. To warm you up if you happen to be cold or it’s snowy where you are and you need a bit of heat and sunshine, at least for pretend, when it comes to dinner:
1 broiler-fryer chicken, cut into 8 parts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 large pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup pineapple juice
1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
1 papaya or mango, peeled and cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook the chicken pieces a few at a time for 8-10 minutes or until the pieces have browned. Remove the chicken to a baking dish. Sprinkle with the onion, chili powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Place pineapple chunks around the chicken. Pour the juice over the chicken and fruit. Bake about 40 minutes, basting occasionally. Add the avocado and mango the pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Makes 4 servings