Fresh pineapple adds refreshing note to roasted chicken recipes

Roasted Chicken with Fresh Pineapple

Story and Photo By Ronnie Fein, The Nosher via JTA

I make chicken so often that my kids once told me we were all going to grow feathers and start clucking. But they never complained that it was the same old chicken because it never was. There are few foods as versatile as this worthy bird, so it was always easy for me to prepare it in a multitude of ways. Over the years I learned that chicken dinner never has to be boring.

Chicken meat is so mild — certainly not as distinctive as, say, lamb or duck — that you can pair it with all sorts of seasonings, condiments, fruits and vegetables, and it will be flavorful and delicious. Spice it up with zaatar (see story above), curry powder, ras el hanout or lemon juice and dried oregano. Fresh herbs, tomato sauce, Ponzu, jarred duck sauce, teriyaki, black truffle oil — they’re all fine. Baste chicken with wine, orange juice or stock — couldn’t be better. 

One of the ways I try to make the “chicken-again?” dinner interesting is to cook the meat with fruit. I’ve used all kinds — from apples to grapes to prunes — and found that pineapple and other acidic fruits are particularly well suited because they add a refreshing tang, which is especially welcome in the heat of summer. In addition, the fruit caramelizes gorgeously in the pot, creating a dish that’s mild plus piquant and sugary. You can stop there, but I add just a hint of heat for the back of the tongue (I used Sriracha, but you can also sprinkle the chicken with cayenne power), which makes the entire dish come together in beautiful and delicious harmony.


Ronnie Fein has written for the food sections of daily newspapers including Newsday, The Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time.

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