Aloha Chicken (aka) Chicken from Hawaii

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If you liked the recipe for Chicken From France, you’ll love Aloha Chicken, or maybe it should be called Chicken from Hawaii. When you look at the recipe, you will most likely wonder what, in any way, makes this dish Hawaiian. Well actually, nothing that I know of. It doesn’t contain coconut or pineapple or fish. I don’t think of Hawaii as a major cherry producing state - or chili sauce or Sherry for that matter. But when I was in college, and a roommate’s mom gave me this recipe she called it Aloha Chicken. She was from Mississippi so go figure.

For two years of my college days I lived in a rental house with 3 other girls. We worked out a great system of sharing grocery shopping and cooking duties and had nice sit-down dinners at least 4 nights a week. I think this must be a girl thing. My son lived in an apartment with 3 other guys and they divided the fridge into personal sections, mostly for beer, and never used the stove. Anyway, I was the only girl in our house who didn’t own a car and quickly discovered that I could borrow one for grocery shopping as long as I agreed to make dinner on the night assigned to my car-lending roommate. I got pretty good at turning out yummy, reasonably priced dinners, and soon my roommates were practically flinging car keys at me if I would cook dinner on their nights. After our first year we decided to add “Guest Night” when we could all invite a friend or two to dinner. A great side benefit for me was that if I agreed to be the chef, I didn’t have to pay extra for my guests.  We became very popular, at least on “Guest Night”. My roommates started to contribute to my collection of recipes with personal family favorites. That’s how Aloha Chicken came to be a top requested “Guest Night” dinner.

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I still think this is a great dish for entertaining; you just throw in more chicken if lots of people are expected. You can put everything together ahead of time keeping in mind that Aloha Chicken needs to bake for two hours. It’s versatile – good with rice or potatoes or pasta, plus a salad or simple favorite veggie. Last night I roasted broccoli in the oven with the chicken adding it 15 minutes before the chicken was ready. Israeli Couscous in boiling water took 10 minutes. DONE! I can’t tell you how much my hard to please husband likes this dinner. (Well not the broccoli.) The chicken is fall apart tender with a marvelously tasty sauce and cherries add a festive touch don’t you think? Aloha Chicken is your friend for a busy-day family supper, or a crowd-pleasing “Guest Night” dinner. Just don’t forget the Mai-tias and leis – or maybe some Lazy Magnolia Mississippi beer!

Aloha Chicken

Ingredients

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1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (This will feed four, 2 pkgs will feed 8 and you don’t need to change the ingredients –plenty of sauce)

1 onion, sliced

1 can dark cherries, undrained (not cherry pie filling)

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup sherry

1 jar (12 oz) chili sauce  (find with ketchup)

1 Tbsp orange zest

salt and pepper

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Directions

Perheat broiler.

Lay chicken in a large casserole coated with cooking spray.

Salt and pepper generously.

Cover chicken with sliced onions and broil till chicken and onions begin to brown lightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and adjust oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Add remaining ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and cover chicken with the sauce.

Wrap casserole with foil and bake for 2 hours.

Serve with rice, potatoes, or pasta to soak up the delicious sauce.

 

* You can make this casserole up until it’s wrapped in foil, and let it rest in the fridge for up to 4 hours. Increase baking time by about 20 minutes.

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