Although it would sound cliche, I grew up within the kitchen. A part of it was an curiosity in meals and cooking, however trying again, a minimum of initially, a big a part of it was simply to be with my mother. Although some would possibly forged disgrace on the title, I used to be very a lot a mama’s boy. I even picked up the childhood nickname “Glue,” as I used to be all the time at her facet. And as she was the first prepare dinner in our house, I may often be discovered within the kitchen proper alongside along with her whereas she ready meal after meal for our household of 4.

A creature of behavior, my mother tended to stay to the restricted set of dishes, seasonings and even oven temperatures she was comfy with. When one thing went into the oven, it was virtually all the time at 350 levels. Her staple seasonings have been seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, garlic salt and a sprinkle of paprika (principally for coloration). Our dinners featured a gradual rotation of consolation and soul meals dishes, together with spaghetti, pot roast, meatloaf and baked and fried hen and pork chops. This fashioned the inspiration of my life as a prepare dinner, which led to the comforting, soulful thread you possibly can typically discover woven via lots of my recipes to this present day.

As an authorized mama’s boy and after a lot observing, I wished to assist with the endless responsibility of placing meals on the desk. It may need began with peeling potatoes or chopping onions, duties of little consequence, however I quickly wished to do extra. Ultimately, I graduated to extra substantial duties, like seasoning and cooking meat.

Meat was typically the star of the dinner plate again in these days. My household was the sort that often clipped coupons, which meant meat wasn’t one thing that we may afford to mess up, so being concerned in getting it to the desk was a process I didn’t take frivolously. At first, I merely mimicked what I noticed my mom do time after time: a sprinkle and a shake of the identical tried-and-true seasonings she all the time used till it appeared excellent. However quickly I took notice of the spice jars that sat untouched, the unfamiliar elements from a kind of reward units she in all probability took house as a result of it was on sale. Like a forbidden flame, they drew me in.

I began reaching for the thriller elements, opening the tops and taking a whiff to attempt to get a way of their taste. Then, steadily I started including them into the lineup as I grew with confidence within the kitchen. “Don’t mess up my meat!” my mom would exclaim, half jokingly. And miraculously, I don’t suppose I ever did. I relished the occasions on the desk when she’d ask, “What did you place on this?” with a playful grin as she went for an additional chew, an acknowledgment of my seasoning experiment success.

So for this Mom’s Day, I’m sharing a baked hen recipe with butter and onions as an homage to my mother. Whereas I like her tried-and-true recipes, I’ve additionally discovered to embrace my zeal for creativity and experimentation within the kitchen — even when it was typically met by my mom’s skeptical eye.

Mother’s model featured hen components positioned in a baking dish, sprinkled along with her go-to spices, topped with pats of butter (or extra possible margarine again within the day) and baked in a reasonably sizzling oven, with chopped onions scattered throughout the highest towards the tip of its cooking time. I keep in mind it cooking for much longer than I might ever advocate at present, and we’d add water to the pan pondering it could assist stop the hen from drying out (it doesn’t). It was tasty, however my greatest criticism was that the hen all the time remained quite pale as a result of it was cooked at solely 325 or 350 levels.

This recipe is my riff on mother’s. To begin, I switched up the seasonings for a well-known however extra fascinating taste profile. Gone are the premixed seasoning blends, which definitely have their deserves, and of their place is my very own mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, cumin and paprika. I cranked up the warmth so the hen can tackle some coloration, and went one step additional by placing it underneath the broiler for a few minutes for much more browning. The upper temperature accelerates the prepare dinner time whereas nonetheless yielding completely moist hen thighs.

Thighs are my most well-liked reduce, however legs or wings can work, too. (Breasts aren’t my favourite as a result of they will dry out so simply, however they will in all probability be used on this recipe for those who actually wish to, so long as you modify the cooking time accordingly.) Lastly, the butter and onions get to remain as a result of … butter and onions. (Although both might be omitted if wanted for dietary causes.)

The result’s, like the unique, an excellent easy, hands-off recipe that’s good for busy households. It’s nice served with rice to sop up the pleasant mixture of butter, onions and hen drippings created within the roasting pan.

Storage Notes: Leftovers may be refrigerated for as much as 3 days.

Make Forward: The hen may be seasoned and refrigerated as much as 1 day upfront.


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on hen thighs (3 1/2 to 4 kilos whole)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon floor black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon floor cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 small yellow onion (about 5 ounces), diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, reduce into 8 items

Place an oven rack in the midst of the oven and preheat to 400 levels. Pat the hen dry with a tea towel or paper towel and switch to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or equally sized casserole.

In a small bowl, whisk collectively the salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, cumin and paprika till evenly mixed. Evenly season each side of the hen with the spice combination, ending with them skin-side up.

Scatter the onion over the baking dish and high every bit of hen with a pat of butter. Bake for about 40 minutes, or till the hen is golden on high and reaches an inside temperature of a minimum of 165 levels.

If the hen was browned to your liking after baking, you possibly can skip this step. In any other case, set the oven to broil. Fastidiously increase the rack to five or 6 inches from the broiler and return the baking dish to the oven and broil for two minutes, or till properly browned. (In case your broiler is on the underside, switch the baking dish to the broiler drawer.)

Let cool barely earlier than serving, ensuring to spoon a few of the pan juices over high.

Vitamin Data

(Primarily based on 8 servings)

Energy: 246; Whole Fats: 12 g; Saturated Fats: 5 g; Ldl cholesterol: 145 mg; Sodium: 556 mg; Carbohydrates: 2 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 31 g.

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