BULGING buffets, turkey reruns, cookies of every shape and size - hard to believe, but it's time to think about holiday food. It's also time to break the mold and be completely different.
Maybe forget the turkey...
Maybe drop the cheese balls...
Maybe dump the cider...
Maybe mix chicken with fruit!
Combining beef or poultry with fruits is a festive custom in many parts of the world - but until recently all but unknown in the United States.
Perhaps chicken with fruit or fruit-glazed chicken sounds too exotic for your taste.
I resisted such combinations until I tasted Strawberry Chicken. This is now one of my favorite ways of preparing poultry.
Raspberries may be substituted with equally delicious results. And when fresh citrus fruit is plentiful, it adds special sparkle to winter recipes. Chicken With Raspberry Sauce 8 chicken breast halves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons butter or substitute margarine 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 12-ounce package of frozen unsweetened raspberries or 1 pint of fresh raspberries 1/4 cup bottled cranberry-raspberry juice drink 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tablespoon minced parsley 1/2 cup chicken broth or bouillon 2 teaspoons green peppercorns, slightly crushed 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In large skillet melt butter and add oil. Add chicken and brown both sides.
Mash half the raspberries through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Refrigerate remaining berries.
In small bowl combine strained berries, cranberry-raspberry drink, garlic, parsley, and broth.
Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook 15 minutes over medium heat.
(Complete now or make ahead.)
To complete: Cook chicken in sauce until tender.
Using slotted spoon, place hot chicken on a platter and keep hot.
Stir green peppercorns into sauce. Remove from heat.
Add 1/4 cup butter, 1 or 2 pieces at a time, stirring constantly until butter is blended into sauce. Immediately spoon over hot chicken. Garnish with reserved raspberries.
To make ahead: Place cooked chicken and sauce in separate containers with tight-fitting lids. Cool. Refrigerate up to 24 hours.
Reheat in large skillet, adding butter as directed above. Garnish and serve.
Serves 8. Chicken Hawaiian 2 whole chicken breasts, halved 4 thigh and leg pieces Salt 1 grapefruit 3 oranges 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup prepared mustard 1/4 cup vinegar 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon water 1 9-ounce can crushed pineapple 1/3 cup toasted almonds
Sprinkle chicken with salt.
Place skin side down in shallow baking dish.
Peel and section grapefruit and oranges, holding over a bowl to catch juice. Measure juices together to make 1/2 cup.
In saucepan blend corn syrup, mustard, vinegar, red pepper sauce, ginger, salt, and fruit juices. Add cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water.
Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Brush chicken with this mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F. 1 hour, basting with sauce occasionally, and turning chicken once.
Add crushed pineapple, orange and grapefruit sections, and almonds to remaining sauce. Heat. Pour over chicken for last 5 minutes of baking time.
Arrange in an attractive fashion on a warm serving platter. Serves 6 to 8. Strawberry Patch Chicken 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided 1 2-1/2-pound chicken cut in quarters 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 lemon, halved 1/2 cup red currant jelly 1/2 pint fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Rub a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with 11/2 tablespoons butter.
Season chicken pieces, then place them skin side up in pan. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Squeeze juice of half a lemon over. Dot top with remaining butter. Bake 30 minutes.
Heat jelly until melted, then stir in juice of remaining half lemon. Remove from heat.
Wash, stem, and slice strawberries, then stir lightly into jelly.
Baste chicken with drippings in pan.
Spoon berry-jelly mixture over top. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F. and bake chicken 15 to 20 minutes more. Serves 4. Mandarin Chicken 1 12-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate 1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup lemon juice 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons melted butter or use margarine as substitute 1 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon ginger Salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste 6 whole chicken breasts, boned and halved 1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained 3 bananas, fairly firm, peeled and quartered
Combine first 9 ingredients, blending well.
Place chicken in 9-by-13-inch ungreased baking dish.
Pour sauce over.
Cover and marinate several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake chicken 30 minutes.
Add oranges and bananas; baste with sauce.
Bake 30 minutes, basting several times. Skim off fat.
Just before serving, place under broiler 2 to 3 minutes to brown thoroughly and glaze.
Serves 6. Sweet and Tangy Peach and Lime Chicken 1 16-ounce can cling peach halves 1 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup lime juice, use fresh or bottled brand 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons snipped parsley 1 3-pound chicken, cut up 1 lime, thinly sliced
Drain peaches. Reserve syrup.
Mix chicken stock, 1/2 cup reserved peach syrup, lime juice, onion slices, and parsley.
Place chicken in 2-quart glass baking dish. Pour marinade over it. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.
Broil 6 inches from heat for 6 minutes on each side.
In small saucepan combine the peaches and remaining syrup with lime marinade.
Heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally.
Arrange chicken on serving plate.
Surround with peach halves.
Pour hot sauce over all.
Garnish with slices of fresh lime. Serves 4 to 5.