My love for ketchup runs long and deep. When I was young I would put ketchup on absolutely everything, and specifically to disguise the taste of meat which I never did enjoy. As I’ve “matured” I have branched out from ketchup and developed relationships with a whole host of condiments; pretty much the ketchups from every country. But I will never forget my first true love and I do not bemoan my children’s affection for the Heinz bottle, especially if a little squirt helps them clear their plate.
Einat Admony, author of Balaboosta, a new cookbook filled with bold Mediterranean recipes, holds the polar opposite belief to mine. She states, “I raised my kids on the principle that ketchup isn’t a solution; it’s an indication: if my children don’t like something, they shouldn’t add ketchup–they simply shouldn’t eat it in the first place.” I see her point, clearly, but I have made choices regarding dinnertime battles, especially when my kids were younger. I bought into the philosophy that children need to be exposed to different foods, sometimes as many as a dozen times, before they may like it. If the taste needed to be “enhanced” along the way and they cleaned their plates, I considered it a win.
This recipe from Balaboosta is the perfect compromise between Admony’s thinking and my own. It prominently features ketchup in the recipe, giving the chicken a tangy, sweet flavor but it’s use is purposeful not a disguise. My kids and one of their friends gobbled up the dish, and Gary enjoyed it, as well. Catch-Up Chicken works as a family meal when you are looking to maintain the peace.
As my kids are growing up, I notice that they are naturally pulling back from the ketchup bottle and less often ask to use it inappropriately. But then again, my view is admittedly skewed as I firmly believe that ketchup belongs in mac & cheese. Ah, before you turn up your nose, give it a try–you’ll never go back!
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 Tbls kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 3 lbs chicken pieces, (bone-in, skin on per original recipe; I used boneless and skinless thighs and cooked the chicken for 40 minutes)
- 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix together the ketchup, apple juice, salt, cumin and paprika in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Add the chicken, onion and tomatoes to the Dutch oven and toss everything together to coat evenly. Cover and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, until the juices run clear from a cut between the thigh and leg (if using bone-in, skin on pieces). Enjoy!