Family Chicken

Recipes float around the web, many of them trendy, some retro, and others really off-beat. Trying new ones can be risky. Have they been tested? Is the developer strong on the write-up, but weak on delivery? You can put all those questions to rest with this recipe. Found in a cookbook from 1899, it has been in Mom’s family for decades, and cooked so many times that it has come to be known simply as “Family Chicken.”

I ask you- Can a recipe this well-loved not be delicious?

In my whole life, I don’t think I’ve ever made one batch at a time of this marinade. People love it so much that we usually make 4-6 times the recipe, and then hope that we have a few pieces leftover to eat cold out of the refrigerator the next morning (many of our favorite way to eat it).

It only takes a few minutes to whip this together. Probably you have all of the ingredients already in your pantry. Here they are, so you can get started…

Who knew oil, vinegar, black pepper, salt, eggs and poultry seasoning could be so magical?

First, measure out the oil into your bowl…

If you’re worried about the amount of oil in this recipe, don’t be. It’s a marinade, and very little of it will be absorbed.

Next, dump in the vinegar…

It’s best with apple cider vinegar, but we didn’t have any. Rice vinegar will also work, in a pinch.

Then add salt…

Again, please don’t be concerned about the amount of salt in this recipe. Most of it will not be absorbed by the chicken. No matter how much you’re tempted, resist cutting down the salt from the prescribed amount. People have asked for this recipe in the past, and then complained that it didn’t taste like ours. When asked if they cut the salt, they always admitted that they had.

Next add pepper…

…poultry seasoning…

…eggs…

…and then whisk ingredients together…

until thoroughly combined.

Now grab a container of some kind (we used large jars, because they fit well into our fridge, held a lot of chicken, and kept all the pieces covered in marinade), and fill it up with chicken pieces.

Ladle marinade over the top…

…until all the chicken pieces are covered.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get a straight shot of this chicken. You’d think I was on a ship, not a balcony overlooking the river.

Make sure to marinate an abundance of chicken, and try to prepare it at least two days in advance, so it has plenty of time to soak up all that great marinade flavor.

We made four jars worth, to accommodate one of our large Sunday night crowds.

In passing, I think every ridiculously large mayonnaise jar secretly dreams of being filled with family chicken, don’t you? :)

As I said before, it’s best if you make it two days in advance, but you should at least let it marinate overnight before you cook it. We find that the chicken is best if it’s cooked outdoors and has that nice char-grilled flavor. However, it’s also acceptable to bake it in the oven until it’s golden brown.

You could serve it on your balcony overlooking the river, or you could do what we did and serve it to these friends…

…plus these friends…

…in addition to these friends…

…for Sunday dinner. Our friends here all love family chicken, and it’s hard to make enough so that we have a little left over to eat cold for breakfast. :) We’re glad to be able to share this special treat, passed down through Mom’s family, with our China family now. Maybe you should make some for your family this week!

Family Chicken-

1/2 cup oil

1 cup vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons salt (don’t scrimp!)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

Chicken pieces (I just realized I have absolutely no idea how much chicken 1 batch of marinade covers. Maybe 8 pieces? I’ve never made that little.)

Directions

Mix marinade ingredients together and whisk well. Place chicken in container and cover with marinade. Store in refrigerator for 2 days, shaking occasionally to redistribute ingredients. Bake or grill until golden brown and cooked through. Be sure to make plenty, because this chicken goes fast!

Mmmm- here’s a plateful of tangy, juicy, crispy perfection. Come on, join the family; make some Family Chicken for your loved ones! :)

13 thoughts on “Family Chicken

  1. We LOVE baked chicken and this looks scrumptious :) Gonna give it a try as soon as I buy some birds at the store :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. I came looking for a great recipe. I left, once again, humbled by your incredible hospitality. I know you didn’t post for that reason, but I just had to say it. We love your family and I know we’ll love this chicken!!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Laura. By God’s grace, we love opening our home to others. Who knows if perhaps we’ve entertained angels unawares? Lacy was pretty close to one. 😉

  3. I KNOW how yummy this chicken is, Joy, and you did it justice in your descriptions and photos! You’re right- we never have too much and rarely enough! I hope our friends will enjoy this and pass it on through THEIR generations!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Pat. I’m always looking for good recipes. Also some Chinese recipes. I wonder why my kids love Chinese food so much? Keep em coming.

  5. Christine picked up a jar last week that we’ve already affectionately named “The Family Chicken Jar”. Looking forward to trying it out!

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