It's tempting to just think "apples and honey" when you think of Rosh Hashanah, but those two ingredients alone don't make a feast that befits the Jewish New Year. This baked chicken recipe comes from Leah Koenig's excellent new handbook, Little Book of Jewish Feasts. It's full of tradition-meets-modern recipes for all the Jewish holidays, but even if you're not in celebration mode, you'll find plenty to enjoy: like this braised dish with its floral quinces (which are related to apples) and pop of honey-induced sweetness.
Chicken with Quince and Almonds
Reprinted from Little Book of Jewish Feasts by Leah Koenig with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
½ cup sliced almonds
3 large quinces, peeled, cored and sliced into ½-inch wedges
4 pounds skin-on chicken thighs and legs, patted dry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion halved through the root and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
1. Put the almonds in a small sauté pan set over medium-low heat and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool; set aside.
2. Layer the quince wedges on the bottom of a large casserole dish; set aside. (The quince will turn brown as it oxidizes—that is okay.) Sprinkle the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, starting skin-side down and flipping once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. If the bottom of the pan begins to look dry, add a little more oil, as needed. Layer the browned chicken pieces on top of the quince.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F, then make the braising liquid: Set the same sauté pan you used to brown the chicken over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and cook for 1 minute.
4. Whisk together the stock, vinegar, honey, saffron and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add the mixture to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then carefully pour the braising liquid over the chicken and quinces. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook in the oven until the chicken is fork-tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest.
5. Meanwhile, transfer 1½ cups of the braising liquid to a saucepan set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid reduces by two-thirds, 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the reduced sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted almonds and parsley. Serve hot. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.