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Tag Archive: roasting

Crispy Apricot-Glazed Chicken (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo)

May 24, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Have you ever had the experience of biting into a piece of chicken, only to discover that the skin is rubbery, flabby, and frankly inedible?

I have. And it’s not pleasant.

I can also promise you that it WON’T happen with this chicken.

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The trick to getting crispity-crunchy chicken skin is to use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, sear for a long time, and pop it in a hot oven to finish it off. Once you have this basic method down, you can have a restaurant-quality piece of poultry on the dinner table in less than a half an hour with minimal effort on your part.

How awesome is that?!

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This meal can also be cooked one-handed, as I found out while chopping vegetables for a side dish.

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In the year and a half I’ve been cooking seriously, I’ve never cut nor burned myself. I’ve gotten a few dings every now and then, but never anything serious. A dull knife and extra-tough parsnips were the culprit in this case.

Anyway, long story short, even if you have the use of only your right hand, you can still make this chicken! You just need someone strong to transfer the skillet to and from the oven. (Thanks, Dad!)

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This is the perfect early-summer dish, especially if you don’t have (or are slightly terrified of) a grill. Sweet, just a little sticky, and with a slightly-charred outer crust, this chicken will definitely remind you of something cooked barbecue-style–except you won’t have to smell like a cookout to get the final product!

Let’s get started making this wonderful chicky-chicky.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and throw a heavy cast iron skillet in there while the oven heats up.

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Take 1 whole chicken cut into eight pieces (or bone-in thighs or breasts) and bring it to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Season all of the pieces well with salt, then take out the cast iron skillet and put it on the stove top over medium-high heat.

Place the pieces skin-side down and sear for 14 minutes. Don’t move the pieces at all: just let them do their thing.

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Meanwhile, warm 1/4 cup of all-fruit apricot jam in a small saucepan until significantly more liquid-y or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and a pinch of salt.

At about the 12 minute mark, brush half of the apricot mixture on the side of the chicken pieces facing up.

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When the 14 minutes are up, flip the chicken over (so skin side up) and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for five minutes, then brush the chicken skin with the remaining apricot mixture and cook until golden-brown and firm to the touch, about five minutes longer. (A thermometer inserted in one of the breast pieces should read at least 160, while the thigh/leg pieces should be at least 175.)

Remove from the skillet and eat immediately with your favorite side dishes.

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What is your favorite spring/summer chicken dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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French Fries

March 22, 2014 Print this page

Want crispy-yet-tender French fries without wasting a ton of oil? These oven fries are your dream-come-true!

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 25 min
Total Time 40 min
Yield 4 servings

2 tablespoons of olive oil or other cooking fat, divided

1-2 lb potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold)

Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease two large baking sheets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or other cooking fat) each. Set aside.

You are first going to need…potatoes! I got mine at the farmers’ market, so I don’t remember what variety they were. If you’re shopping at the supermarket, I’d recommend Yukon Gold over Russet for a final product with a bit more personality.

Make sure you wash your potatoes and scrub ‘em well. Dry them off with a dish towel or paper towels, then slice them into medium-sized matchsticks, or use your 16 cup food processor’s convenient French fry blade.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Once it vigorously bubbles, add in the French fries and reduce the heat slightly so the water just slightly bubbles. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender to the touch.

Carefully drain the French fries into a colander, then give them a quick rinse in cold water to wash off some of the accumulated starch and stop the cooking process. Dry the fries off well with some paper towels.

Once no longer wet, divide the fries evenly between the two baking sheets and sprinkle vigorously with salt. Toss a few times to cook, then bake until golden brown and soft in the center, about 20 to 25 minutes. Shake the pan every 5 to 10 minutes to prevent sticking and ensure even browning.

Serve immediately with some homemade mayonnaise on the side, or dip into your favorite sauce or broth to have a delicious bite of flavor-infused potato.


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Poussin Bonaparte

February 24, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Just admit it: this is the cutest, goofiest chicken you have ever seen in your entire life.

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I mean, just look at it! It has a BACON. SASH. This is one classy bird, folks.

When I’m at the butcher, I’m always on the prowl for something new, something intimidating. I love to challenge myself with unfamiliar ingredients and go foraging through books and the internet in attempts to figure out how to cook them. You could call it a bit of an obsession of mine.

Crispy sweet breads. Pig tails. Goose. I’ve tried a lot of “unusual” cuts and animals over the course of the past year. While peeling the membranes off of the sweet breads was far from appealing and removing the entire breast from my goose had me groaning in frustration, almost all of my attempts have turned out deliciously. (Unfortunately, my mom is still a little squeamish about lamb kidneys. I’ll work on her. One day.)

Out of all of the oddies I’ve tried, poussin has to be one of my and my family’s favorites. It’s a rarity at the butcher, but when I see little packages about as big as my hand in the freezer, I snag ’em. Even though poussin are really, yes, just young chicken, they are so freaking adorable that I can never resist the temptation.

Sadly, there aren’t many recipes for poussin online, but if you google recipes for the tiny bird, something called Poussin Bonaparte will pop up right away.  Basically, it’s a poussin, roasted upright with a root vegetable up its posterior and a strip of bacon around its chest. What could be bad?

If you’re a little scared to try preparing a chicken this tiny, don’t be! My recipe is a piece of cake to put together and requires only a handful of ingredients, so you’ll be on your way to a fun, tasty dinner in no time. Just remember, when in doubt, use a thermometer and common sense. They are two of a cook’s best tools.

Ready to give poussin a try? Good. Let’s get started.

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About an hour before you want to eat, take your poussin out of the fridge and pat each one dry with a paper towel. Rub salt all over their skins and in their cavities and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. (This will really help the flavors develop and tenderize the meat!)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large roasting pan with a little coconut oil or ghee. Set aside.

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Take out two big, fat, chunky carrots. (They need to be tough to be able to hold up the poussin!) Cut off either end of both and slice in half width-wise, leaving you with four fairly strong pieces of carrot. Set aside.

Get your four salted-and-at-room-temperature poussin ready. Mount each bird on top of each piece of carrot, trimming off an inch or so at the bottom of the carrot until the poussin can stand up on its own. Place all four in the large roasting pan you already greased, and smear them all with 2 tablespoons of melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil.

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If you’re feeling fancy, wrap a strip of bacon from one of the poussin’s shoulders to its opposite hip. This will give each of your birds a little “sash!”

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Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer in the breast reaches 165 degrees and thigh reaches 175 degrees. The skin (or at least the top half) should be crisped at this point.

Let the poussin cool for at least five minutes before removing the carrots and serving. (You can eat the carrots, too–they’ll have amazing flavor!)

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What is your favorite kind of poultry? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Poussin Bonaparte

February 23, 2014 Print this page

Just admit it: this is the cutest, goofiest chicken you have ever seen in your entire life. I mean, just look at it! It has a BACON. SASH. This is one classy bird, folks. And it’s SO easy to make.

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 45 min
Total Time 1 hr 45 min
Yield 8 servings

4 poussin (figure 1/2 a poussin per person)

Salt

2 big, fat, chunky carrots

2 tablespoons of melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil

4 strips of bacon

Directions

About an hour before you want to eat, take your poussin out of the fridge and pat each one dry with a paper towel. Rub salt all over their skins and in their cavities and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. (This will really help the flavors develop and tenderize the meat!)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large roasting pan with a little coconut oil or ghee. Set aside.

Take out the big, fat, chunky carrots. (They need to be tough to be able to hold up the poussin!) Cut off either end of both and slice in half width-wise, leaving you with four fairly strong pieces of carrot. Set aside.

Get your four salted-and-at-room-temperature poussin ready. Mount each bird on top of each piece of carrot, trimming off an inch or so at the bottom of the carrot until the poussin can stand up on its own. Place all four in the large roasting pan you already greased.

If you’re feeling fancy, wrap a strip of bacon from one of the poussin’s shoulders to its opposite hip. This will give each of your birds a little “sash!”

Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer in the breast reaches 165 degrees and thigh reaches 175 degrees. The skin (or at least the top half) should be crisped at this point.

Let the poussin cool for at least five minutes before removing the carrots and serving. (You can eat the carrots, too–they’ll have amazing flavor!)


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Rutabaga Fries and Healthier Hasselback Potatoes

February 10, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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So, as you may or may not know, I work at a farmer’s market. A winter farmer’s market.

And you know what that means? Roots. Lots, and lots, and LOTS of roots.

When the market began back in November, there was kale. Fresh baby spinach. Brussel sprouts. Salad greens. But as November turned to December and fall turned to winter, the amount of green slowly diminished. People began arriving early so they could buy up anything that wasn’t brown or white before everybody else. I soon found myself with a serious problem. Friends, family, readers: I developed VEGETABLE HOARDING.

A few weeks ago, the vendor that sold her produce next to me had kale. KALE. Just a few precious bags of leafy, crunchy goodness. It was a little hard-hit from the snow and extremely cold weather, but it was green, and I wanted it. BAD. I proceeded to immediately reserve four bags for myself, then laughed with relish at my success. (It was incredibly delicious, by the way.)

Right now, in the heart of February, only the toughest of the veggies have lingered on at the farmer’s market. Sweet potatoes. Gnarly celeriacs. Fat, twisted carrots. Baby beets that definitely need a cuddle instantaneously upon purchase. While they may not be beauty pageant winners, I love them all the same, and I’ll always work with what I’ve got.

Let’s start with rutabaga.

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Everyone, this is a rutabaga.

Hi, rutabaga!

He (or she?) is very hearty in appearance, with a bulbous middle and slightly stringy top. Upon sniffing this magnificent creature, you’ll detect almost cabbage-like notes. You know why? It’s because both plants belong to the Brassica family, which also includes cauliflower, collard greens, and broccoli. This means your kitchen will be a little stinky, too, but no need to fear–rutabaga tastes awesome. Especially when paired with some spices for flavor and color.

Usually, when I’m working with a new vegetable, I cube it and roast it in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then taste and determine what it needs for next time to enhance its flavor.  I didn’t do that with rutabaga–I went straight to matchstick mode to make oven-baked fries.

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Crunchy on the outside and just a bit creamy on the inside, these fries are a wonderful change of pace from your typical vegetable side dish. I like them plain, but I bet they’d also be super tasty with Citrus-Infused Mayo on the side.

First things first: preheat the oven to 450 degrees and take out two medium rimmed baking sheets.

If you’d like, peel the skin off of your rutabaga–it’s not absolutely necessary–and slice it into thick matchsticks. Want to make cutting a little easier? Cut off the rutabaga’s bottom so it can stand up on its own on your cutting board!

Once properly cut, put the rutabaga matchsticks in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1-2 teaspoons of paprika (depending on how spicy you want them), 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. When all are evenly coated, divide the matchsticks evenly among the two baking sheets.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to ensure that both sides get properly crisped. Serve immediately with your favorite meat, poultry, or white fish. (May I recommend the Crispy Sweetbreads?)

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Onto our next installment of winter vegetable madness: HASSELBACK POTATOES.

OK, so unless you’ve been living under a foodie boulder for the past, er, year, you’ve probably seen countless of pictures of hasselback potatoes floating around the internet. Unfortunately, all of these recipes are LOADED with butter and cheese…and while I have a problem with neither in moderation, I don’t think that a vegetable side dish should contain an entire stick of butter and up to a cup of cheese. That basically defeats the purpose of a vegetable, don’t you think?

Then, one day, I was hanging out in the kitchen watching Barefoot Contessa, because I was bored and my T.V. channels are pretty much exclusively the Food Network, the Weather Channel, and Kids 13 when Arthur is on. (I am not a tasteful T.V. watcher, mind you.) I was about to turn it off when Ina started talking about potatoes. Immediately, a picture of mini hasselback potatoes popped up on the screen, and I darted downstairs to look  up the recipe.

I was so excited. Hasselback potatoes. Without any butter and cheese. And mini-sized. Yes.

My recipe is slightly adapted from Ina’s; I also used a combination of baby golden and purple potatoes for color and variety. These are so pretty and so tasty…I could eat the entire batch, if you wanted me to. Really.

Just like the rutabaga fries, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Get out the biggest rimmed baking sheet you have–you’ll need lots of space for these potatoes!

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Unless you’re a knife pro, you’re going to need some help cutting up the potatoes. (FYI, I used about 1 lb.) Here’s a great trick: use a spoon that’s about the same size as the potato you’re using! Every 1/4-inch or so, cut down until you hit the spoon. Repeat until you reach the end of the potato, and here’s what it should look like…

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It holds together, but you still have the cuts you want for crispy hasselback potatoes!

Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and transfer them all to a big bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary, and a good crack of black pepper.

Pour the coated potatoes on the baking sheet, and bake until tender on the center and crispy all over, about 40 to 45 minutes. Give the pan a shake every 15 minutes to make sure the potatoes don’t stick!

Serve immediately with your favorite main dish: I’d recommend either Spatchcocked Chicken or the Easiest Roast Pork Ever.

My dad thought they looked like armadillos. What do you think?

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And there you have it! Two tasty vegetable sides that are actually in season.

What’s your favorite winter vegetable? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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