In a classic episode of “Little House on the Prairie,” (Back to School Part 2, Season 6, Episode 2) Laura offers to cook dinner for a special date between Nellie and the handsome bachelor in town, Almanzo Wilder. Nellie’s not the only one with her eye on Almanzo, so Laura has an ulterior motive. She wants to end things between Nellie and Almanzo before they get started.
When she prepares their supper, Laura douses the chicken with cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon. Both Nellie and Almanzo get sick, and the date is ruined. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in Laura’s life as she gets to know her future husband.
When made properly, cinnamon chicken is actually a delicious, family-friendly recipe that kids and adults love. A complex combination of flavors including apple cider, lemon juice, garlic, and cinnamon brings together this savory-sweet main dish.
Marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours to ensure a flavorful, tender finished product. This versatile recipe can be served with any number of side dishes to make a hearty meal. The modern-day audience will certainly be more impressed than Almanzo was with Laura’s version.
Cinnamon Chicken Recipe
- 1½ cups apple cider
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 pounds chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon for garnish (cut in wedges)
Combine the cider, honey, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large, airtight container.
Add the chicken to the marinade and move the pieces around to coat them. Cover the container and marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
After marinating, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and set it aside. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil until it reduces to 1 cup. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and briefly brown the chicken breasts over medium heat. Brown for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Don’t leave it in the pan long enough to cook the chicken through.
Place the chicken in a 9×13 inch roasting pan and pour the reduced marinade over the chicken. Bake until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This should take between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Use a meat thermometer to confirm that it’s done cooking.
Serve juices as a dipping sauce if desired, and garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 8. Recipe adapted from Food.com
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The author adapted the recipe from Food.com.
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