Baked chicken is one of those staple recipes that you can always count on to feed a crowd or as the foundation for the coming week’s make ahead meals. There was a few month stretch where every Sunday afternoon was baked chicken day. I would fill a sheet pan with 6 to 8 chicken breasts. After a sprinkling of salt and pepper, it was off to the oven. Once the chicken’s skin was crispy and the meat had cooked through, I would let it cool and then pull the meat off the bone to use as lunch or dinner throughout the week.
A little warning for you guys out there who are recently married. Pulling chicken can be a slippery business. I lost my wedding ring, for the first time, when pulling apart baked chicken. Luckily a dig through the trash revealed that it had slipped off while pulling.
I was looking to up my baked chicken game, so I turned to my Mom (Sally) for help. I explained to her about the chicken rut that Sara and I were starting to fall into and she had one word to solve our problem: PAPRIKA.
I wasn’t sure what my Mom had planned, but upon seeing a sheet pan of deep red colored chicken with vibrant orange pan juices emerge from the oven, it became clear that Sally was right. Paprika was exactly what my baked chicken needed. The mix of smoky, sweet, citrus, and the smallest amount of heat was a welcome change to my traditional baked chicken. This Paprika Baked Chicken pairs well with Elegant Cauliflower Puree or can be a great foundation to a chicken salad. If you find yourself in a baked chicken rut, give Paprika Baked Chicken a try.
10 to 12 pieces of bone-in, skin on chicken (about 5 to 6 pounds)
2 Tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
4. Put the chicken on the middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan juices.Roast the chicken an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is brown and the skin is crispy. Remove chicken from the oven. Baste the chicken with the pan juices. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe ©Sally James Mathis
Photography © Taylor Mathis