Today I want to share with you one of my all time favorite childhood dinners, which we simply called Ketchup chicken. When I first told Denis about this meal many years ago, he laughed, thinking it was hilariously stereotypical that this American had grown up on chicken with ketchup, and, what’s more, thought this was the pinnacle of home cooking. I guess it’s even more appropriate since I grew up in Pittsburgh, the home of Heinz ketchup. Denis claims it was also the first meal I ever made for him, even before we were together. My memory is foggy, but we went to a friend’s apartment for dinner and I made the main dish.
This dish is ever so simple, and yet doesn’t taste like just chicken with ketchup squirted on it. The ketchup, along with onions, mushrooms, and spices, makes a savory, tomatoey sauce that is just perfect. Once you slice the tender chicken on your plate, it soaks up the extra sauce, and is the most flavorful chicken you’ve ever had. Serving rice on the side guarantees that none of the yummy sauce, onion, and mushroom will go to waste.
To make Ketchup Chicken, you will need:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 package of white button mushrooms
- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- 1-2 onions
- 1 tsp dill
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
Lay the chicken in a roasting pan. (We made two because it was for the Jewish New Year and we had guests) Put one large chunk of onion in the cavity of the chicken and cut the rest of the onion in thick slices. Sprinkle them around the chicken. Slice the mushrooms and sprinkle them around the chicken. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables, and add the dill and salt. Squeeze the ketchup into a bowl or measuring cup and add water to thin it out by about 1/2. Pour this mixture over the chicken and vegetables, stirring the vegetables to coat. Add more ketchup/water if it seems dry. Finally, sprinkle paprika (a bit of smoked paprika adds a nice touch too, but don’t overdo it) over the top of the chicken.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until it begins to brown, and then reduce to 350 for another hour or so, until the juices run clear. If at any point, the vegetables seem dry, add more water and stir.
I hadn’t had this dish in ages and it was just how I remembered it. The aroma from the oven while it cooks is just divine, and really brings me back!
Finally, here is a picture of my wonderful mom serving up her delicious chicken.