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Ketchup Chicken

Ketchup chicken, where have you been all my life? Honestly people, being a ketchup lover, I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this before now. Truly Mark Bittman has been holding out on me! I ate ketchup on everything as a child. It always held an important role on our table and was used recklessly on chicken and steak and even scrambled eggs. Back then there wasn’t such a thing as jarred salsa and who had ever heard of sriracha? The closest we got to condiments was Heinz 57 or Worcestershire for one’s steak. But I was simple. Ketchup floated my boat.

 As a child my mother used to make ketchup sloppy joe. She never made it for my father. She only made it before they abandoned us wee ones at home. We didn’t care because we had ketchup sloppy joe. It wasn’t really sloppy joe. I think all she did was brown the beef and add ketchup. That was our bribe for not giving the sitter a hard time when they departed. My parents were the social type. They went out a lot. If I recall there was always golf in the summer, theatre tickets or the numerous cocktail parties. I think parents did a lot more socializing without kids back then. But what the heck? We ate like kings when they were gone. Many times we were bribed with Swanson’s TV dinners-the ones with the Salisbury steak, corn and the brownie. We also adored their chicken pot pies. And get out-who doesn’t love Jeno’s pizza rolls and Sara Lee brownies for dessert? There was no powdered macaroni and cheese or spaghetti o’s in our house, and I still don’t know the reason why. Nope. My mom preferred freezer meals!

But back to ketchup chicken. Such a glorious dish certainly should bear a better name, but alas, this says it like it is. Ketchup chicken, I love you.

I served my ketchup chicken over yakisoba noodles. I guess I still have a yearning for Chinese! In any case this chicken would also be great over potatoes or rice or spaghetti. Kids love it. Adults love it and it takes minutes to prepare. While cooking the ketchup color deepens and sightly caramellizes. One could adjust this with other flavors and make this into a Chinese meal or Italian or even Mexican. But the truth is it is the simplicity of this that makes it so lip licking good. And oh yeah. The peas are strictly for color. They do taste good, but the original recipe lacks veggies of any kind. But feel free to throw the peas on, if it makes you feel healthier!

Ketchup Chicken
Serves 4
Time to make: 20 minutes
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken cut into 1″ chunks (I used white meat, but Mark prefers dark)
1/2 c flour or as needed
4 T canola oil
Salt and Pepper
2 T slivered garlic
1/4 t cayenne or sriracha mixed with:
1 c ketchup
Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 T oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When chicken browns on one side, turn or toss and cook on other side. This shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a few minutes.

Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cooking until ketchup bubbles and darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and drool.

(Once removed the chicken from the pan, I tossed in some slivered onion and cooked that briefly. I then added a package of yakisoba noodles and stirred then around until warm. This picked up the flavors of the ketchup and garlic and was yummy with the chicken.)

chicken, ketchup, noodles

More to Eat:
  Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken                  Sloppy Jose                   Fudge Brownies w/ Filling



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  • Reply
    Karen Harris
    October 29, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Oh my gosh, this does look interesting . . . and delicious! Love how simple it is. I'm always looking for something quick and easy.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    October 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Yup, back when we were growing up parents did tend to put their needs first, didn't they? All in all a good thing, I think — both kids and parents got a healthy dose of independence that way. And kids got ketchup Sloppy Joes! I was never so lucky, alas. But I can make Ketchup Chicken now, right? Fun dish — thanks.

  • Reply
    Cheri Savory Spoon
    October 29, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Hi Abbe, how funny, I think in our moms day frozen diners were all the rage. Love that you added hot sauce here. Looks delicious!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:24 am

      With or wothout hot sauce this chicken is killer!

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    October 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    It must be good..a resto here I love their crispy asian chicken salad that is General Taoish..he gave me the recipe hrough a freind..and there is ketchup in it:)
    I love how parents today are so involoved w/ their parents did not go out a lot..thank goodnes..because when my mom palyed bridge..she would have to put rollers in her hair and a bathrobe over her clothes and sit at the kitcehen table until I fell asleep..poor dear dear room was off the kichen;)

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:25 am

      My mom played bridge, too! They always dressed up!

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    October 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    That looks super duper delicious! Definitely a crowd pleaser.

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    October 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I really need to try this with the homemade ketchup I made at the end of summer! The garlic and splash of hot sauce are plenty of flavor for me! I make my sloppy joes with ketchup too but I do add chopped onion and celery 🙂 Yes, our parents were definitely part of the new freezer food era! I remember those Swanson dinners well 🙂

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

      You should try this. I haven't been this smitten with a recipe in a long time!

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    October 29, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    My husband would LOVE this recipe! He eats ketchup on everything. When we first married I finally had to ask if he didn't like my cooking. Now he eats at least one bite before drowning it in ketchup 🙁

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Too funny Tricia! I di out grw my need for ketchup but I still love the stuff. This is so good!

  • Reply
    Dawn Yucuis
    October 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

    I am a big fan of ketchup, I know I would love this chicken. Sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    October 30, 2016 at 11:27 am

    My family douses every meat I make with ketchup, so I know they'd think this chicken was divine! My mom used to make us boxed mac and cheese or fish sticks when they went out to eat—I think you got the better deal 😉

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

      I would have loved fish sticks. We only got those at school!

  • Reply
    Bobbi Marshall
    October 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    The title caught my attention. Seriously, why not ketchup chicken! Kids end up putting it on everything anyways. I have a friend and her little ones put ketchup on cucumbers to get them to eat their veggies. Ketchup must have magical kid powers for sure.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    What an easy weeknight meal!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      November 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

      Thanks Beth. It is way too easy to taste this good!

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    October 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I have a friend who eats ketchup on everything, I mean everything. I've got to pass this recipe on to his wife. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    October 31, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Well, I have to give this a try. Love these easy meals for the weekdays.

  • Reply
    Balvinder Ubi
    November 4, 2016 at 4:29 am

    I love ketchup and this is a must try recipe for me.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Hmmm..T is either tablespoon or teaspoon right?

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      January 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      Large T is tablespoon and small t is teaspoon. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen
    October 6, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Wow, I'm gonna have to try this ketchup chicken of yours, Abbe! My husband and my son are total ketchup addicts and this dish looks really good to me too 🙂

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