(Or: No, my diet is only mostly vegetarian.)

Last night I was making some regular vegetable broth with a handful of alphabet noodles, and lo, a protein craving came upon me. So I dug a chicken breast from the depths of the freezer, defrosted the hell out of it, and threw it in the oven with minor preparations. It came out delicious and tender and substantial. This was quite fortunate, as the soup ended up bland and thin and not what I wanted at all. Chiiiicken was my nearly immediate salvation.

I found some variation of this online a while ago, and tweaked it for my own nefarious purposes. I have no idea whether it is actually of Hungarian origin. However, it certainly tastes like it.

For one, you need:

Easy, easy, easy.

Put your chicken in the microwave to defrost, or leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Rinse it and pat it dry.

Peel your onion and slice it into thin half-moons. Lay these in the bottom of your casserole dish, to completely cover. One onion should be enough as long as you are using a small dish.

Sprinkle a layer of thyme and one of marjoram over your onions. You should need around a teaspoon of each, but I never measure, so use your judgement. Grind a layer of black pepper over as well.

Lay your chicken on the layer of onions. Sprinkle with a liberal layer of paprika and a slightly less liberal layer of fresh, chopped Italian parsley. Go ahead and get some of each on the surrounding bed of onion.

Melt your butter, and pour it and the wine over all. You may need to add some more paprika/etc if you accidentally rinse Everything off the chicken, as opposed to just Some things. I like using dry vermouth in this, and for that matter in most sauces requiring alcohol, as it is cheap, flavorful, and goes a very long way. Buy yourself a bottle of decent vermouth, and add splashes to your spaghetti sauces and soups. You will be so happy.

So. Let the dish marinate while you preheat the oven to 450 F. Or you can leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours, then cook. As always, the longer the marination period, the better.

Put your dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake for a half an hour. Baste once or twice, so as to properly distribute spice and juice. You can put some of the softened onions on top of the chicken if you so desire. When the half hour is up, turn the heat down to 325 F and cook slowly, basting once or twice more, until tender and cooked through. This should take another half hour. If you want to serve the whole over rice or noodles, get those ready in the last fifteen minutes.

The chicken should come out tender and fragrant with vaguely Hungarian spices. The onions will have cooked down to a lovely sweet mass, good with bites of chicken. Plate both chicken and onions over your rice, and have at it while everything is as hot as possible. I like it with a dry white wine, and maybe some spinach.

This recipe can be very easily multiplied. We actually made a huge dish of it for a dinner party once: while we spent all our effort on risotto stuffed red peppers, the totally ignored chicken bubbled away happily and smoothly into exact perfection. Ah, ignorable cooking.