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Three Sisters Chicken

When my three brothers and I were little, we thought our Mum was the only one who knew how to make the best honey-baked chicken in the whole wide world. We begged her to make it, craving the salty sweet contrast of honey and mustard with the lingering flavor of curry powder. We’d scrape every bit of sauce left in the pan and drizzle it over the brown rice mounded on our plates. There were rarely leftovers.

Upon visiting our cousins, however, we were astounded to discover that not only was it one of our most-requested dishes, it was a family favorite in the homes of both my Mum’s sisters too.

We shouldn’t have been surprised. Joy (aka Mums), Rosalie and Janet share more than just recipes and cooking skills. You can tell they are sisters by their hands, their adorable dimples, and their uncanny habit of sighing in unison after every gale of laughter. (Trust me, they cannot laugh without the accompanying sigh. Us cousins tried to make them one time and by the end we were all crying with laughter because they just couldn’t manage it.)

They grew up the youngest of seven children to missionaries in Northern Canada. They were dirt poor but resourceful, learning early how to garden, can fruits and veggies and bake up a storm. I love hearing them tell stories of the missionary barrels they would get at Christmas stuffed with second-hand clothes and toys that filled their little hearts with awe and joy.

They went to the same school and met their husbands, who happened to be roommates. They each had one daughter (and sons!) and we grew up to be dear friends with our mothers and each other. Every year, no matter where we are, we try to get together for one jolly weekend filled with laughter (and sighing!), tears and fabulous memories.

My Mum and my aunts are strong and feisty women. They have suffered deeply and experienced great joy, becoming softer, kinder, freer with each passing year. As they wend their way into their sixties I watch in unabashed delight and pride as they forge a new version of themselves and flourish in their amazing gifts. I love their honesty, soft hearts and courage. They are some of the bravest women I have ever known and when life seems dark and hopeless I think of them and know I can make it.

We are scattered across the States and Canada now, but we all still make Honey-Baked Chicken. We still delight in the smell of caramelized chicken wafting from the oven, still scrape the pan to get those last lovely bits of sauce, and those sisters still sigh after every laugh.

Mums, Rosalie and Janet – I’m so glad you’re in my life. I love you. 🙂

Honey Baked Chicken

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
2/3 cup butter melted
2/3 cup honey
4 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder

Directions:

1. Place chicken in 9 by 13 roasting pan.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and heat until butter is melted.
3. Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes, basting once or twice, until caramelized nicely. Serve with brown basmati rice and carrots boiled with dill.

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