The Shabbat Table: Delicious things you can do with chicken

Sesame chicken
Sesame chicken

The Shabbat Table is the latest CJN column from noted chef and food blogger Norene Gilletz. Click here for last week’s recipes

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! What’s on your menu this week?

Chicken is always a popular choice for Shabbat, but there are so many recipes to choose from! Whole chicken, pieces of chicken, boneless breasts or thighs…roasted, baked, stir-fried? The choice is yours!

And if you’re looking for some simple, delicious side dishes to serve along with chicken, these sides are terrific additions to your Shabbat menu. In addition, they’re ideal for any vegetarians at the table:

Potato kugel
Potato kugel

For oven roasted vegetables, click here.

For Norene Gilletz’s pretend potato kugel, click here.

For Mediterranean-style couscous, click here.



  • To salt or not to salt? Kosher chickens have already been salted, so don’t sprinkle them with salt before cooking, or just sprinkle them very lightly. You can always add seasonings at the end of cooking, or leave them on the table.
  • To remove excess salt from koshered chickens, soak them in several changes of cold water before cooking.
  • The skinny truth: Should you cook poultry with or without the skin? If roasting poultry without a sauce, leave the skin on during cooking to keep it moist, and remove skin after cooking. If cooking poultry in a sauce, remove skin before cooking. Otherwise, fat from the skin melts and drains into the sauce. (Or you can always refrigerate the cooked chicken and sauce overnight, then lift off and discard the hardened fat.)


Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap)

The name says it all! This delicious dish can be easily doubled if you’re expecting a crowd. It works equally well with chicken breasts or legs, so everyone will be happy. The best part is that it uses ingredients that are usually in your refrigerator and pantry. Your Shabbat guests will agree that this dish is yum-yum, not ho-hum!

1 chicken, cut into pieces (about 4 lb/1.8 kg)

2 to 3 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp minced)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup ketchup

3 Tbsp brown sugar (or use sugar substitute)

1 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)

1 Tbsp soy sauce (low-sodium or regular)

1/2 tsp dried basil

Chicken in sauce
Chicken in sauce

1. Coat a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or roasting pan with nonstick spray.

2. Trim excess fat from chicken pieces. Arrange in a single layer in prepared pan. Rub chicken with garlic and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter onions around the chicken.

3. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce, and dried basil; mix well.

4. Spoon mixture over chicken pieces and spread evenly. (If desired, chicken can be prepared in advance up to this point and refrigerated (covered) for as long as two days.)

5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roast the chicken (uncovered), basting occasionally, for about 1 hour. Juices should run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

Yield: 6 servings. Recipe doubles or triples easily. Keeps up to two to three days in the refrigerator. Reheats and/or freezes well.

Norene’s Notes

  • The Naked Truth: For maximum flavour without the guilt, leave the skin on the chicken and cook it a day ahead as directed above. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. About 20 minutes before serving, remove any congealed fat, cover, and reheat. Remove the skin from the chicken before you eat it. (That’s how I like to make this dish!)


Adapted from The New Food Processor Bible (Whitecap)

This is one of my favourite ways to prepare chicken. Fried or baked (see below), it’s always a winner.

24 crackers (or 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs)

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Dash each of paprika and garlic powder

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 egg plus 2 Tbsp water

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Oil for frying

1. Insert steel blade in food processor. Process crackers with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to make seasoned fine crumbs. Add sesame seeds and process 2 or 3 seconds longer to mix. Transfer to a flat plate or plastic bag.

2. Beat egg with water in a pie plate. Dip chicken pieces first in egg, then in crumb mixture.

3. Heat 1 to 2 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add chicken pieces and brown on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Add additional oil as needed. Drain well on paper towels.

4. To reheat: Reheat, uncovered, in a preheated 400 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings. Doubles or triples easily for a crowd. Reheats and/or freezes well.


Substitute 3 lb (1.4 kg) chicken pieces or breasts (including skin and bone). If using chicken wings, cut in half and discard wing tips. Bake (uncovered) on a sprayed foil-lined baking sheet in a preheated 400 F oven until browned. Chicken wings take 30 to 35 minutes. Chicken pieces or breasts take 45 to 60 minutes.



Adapted from Healthy Helpings (Whitecap) (formerly titled MealLeaniYumm!)

This quick chicken dish is always a hit with the kids!

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup bottled honey mustard dressing (or your favourite salad dressing)

3/4 cup cornflake or panko crumbs

Pepper and paprika

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut chicken breasts into long strips about 2 inches wide.

3. Pour dressing into a pie plate. Combine crumbs with pepper and paprika in a shallow bowl.

4. Dip chicken strips into salad dressing, then into crumb mixture. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Flip chicken over and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer, until crisp and golden.

Yield: 4 servings. Freezes well. If reheating, don’t heat too long or it may be dry.


  • Never defrost poultry at room temperature. Either defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, or use your microwave. It takes about 5 to 6 minutes per lb (10 to 12 minutes per kg) on the DEFROST setting. Boneless breasts take 4 to 5 minutes per lb. (3 or 4 single boneless breasts weigh about 1 lb.) Arrange thick, meatier pieces outwards and thinner pieces inwards. Remember, thin is in!
  • After defrosting poultry in the microwave, it should still be cold to the touch. The ice crystals in the thicker parts will dissolve in a few minutes. Rinse in cold water and let poultry stand 5 to 10 minutes before cooking. Cook immediately, or refrigerate once it is completely defrosted.
  • Poultry, whether cooked or raw, should not be left at room temperature for more than 1 to 2 hours.
  • To help prevent salmonella and cross-contamination, everything that touches raw poultry should be washed with a sanitizing solution of 1 Tbsp bleach dissolved in 1 gallon (4 litres/quarts) of warm, not hot, water. Let surfaces air-dry; do not rinse. Discard leftover sanitizing solution after usage.