It’s starting to feel a bit like fall here in Menlo Park – which always brings to mind cooking roast chicken in the oven. We’re mostly wintertime roast chicken people – not wanting to bother with it during the summer. But as we get into the fall season, and the days cool off, roast chicken comes to mind as one of our weekend dinners.
I recently came across this simple roast chicken recipe from Mark Bittman. Click through for the recipe and also a link to one of his Minimalist videos where he shows the technique.
It’s a really simple recipe. His key breakthrough was discovering that the use of a cast iron skillet for roasting the chicken helped balance having the white/dark meat cooking appropriately. He recommends putting the skillet into the oven when you first turn it on – and use a high heat (he suggests 500 degrees which our oven won’t quite reach!). As the oven warms, the skillet warms up with it – so that when the chicken is put into the skillet to cook, the warm skillet will help the thighs and dark meat cook a bit faster while letting the breast meat cook normally. It’s this orchestrated imbalance that provides the magic to his recipe.
Give it a try for one of your weekend dinners!
Photo by Rosie 55.
A friend said he was making braised chicken for a family get together tonight – which naturally got me interested in exploring recipes for braised chicken!
I came across one – a modified Food & Wine recipe – at The Kitchen Sink. I’ve always loved apple cider – and this one looked interesting. So, we made our own version earlier this evening and really loved all of its flavors. We paired the chicken with some sauteed vegetables with a splash of balsamic vinegar and fresh lime juice – yum!
Here’s our version of Apple Cider Braised Chicken. Our version uses skinless chicken (lower fat, healthier!) along with simplified ingredients (a whole bottle of Martinelli’s cider, a full 32-oz package of free range chicken stock, etc.). It’s a great treat for a Saturday dinner at home or a Sunday afternoon with friends and family. Serves 4 as is – add a couple more chicken pieces to serve 6.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 half breasts)
- 2 skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion (sweet/Spanish), thinly sliced
- 4-6 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 bottle (25.4 oz) Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider or 2-3/4 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups organic free-range chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet. Season chicken with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, add to skillet and cook over medium heat about 7 minutes. Turn and cook another 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a platter for now.
- Add onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened – about 5 minutes.
- Add sage, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper to the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden – about 5 minutes.
- Add the apple cider and simmer over moderately high heat for about 25 minutes until cider is significantly reduced and syrupy.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken stock and chopped parsley to a French oven. Transfer the onion sauce to the French oven, arrange the chicken in the sauce – ensuring its covered by sauce.
Set the French oven, uncovered, in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast the chicken for 50-60 minutes until cooked through.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover with foil.
- Set the French oven over high heat on the stove and boil the sauce until the liquid is reduced – about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour into a serving dish to serve with the chicken.
Enjoy the flavors!
Note: about 25 minutes before the chicken was ready to come out of the oven, we sauteed a mix of fresh vegetables with chopped garlic in olive oil and added a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar and fresh lime juice at the end.
Yesterday, for our New Year’s Day dinner, we tried a different take on Hamersley’s Roast Chicken recipe – one of our all time winter favorites. If you’re ever in Boston, you just have to go get the real thing at Hamersley’s Bistro!
For years, we’ve been making this dish based upon an older version of the recipe that we had found in Fine Cooking magazine almost 10 years ago. We came across this new recipe on the Relish web site and decided to try it instead.
The primary difference is in the marinade – with the new version including parsley and not including lemon juice. We made and applied the marinade ahead of time and let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for about 5 hours before starting cooking.
The result? Clearly a very moist, tasty chicken – with a different flavor in the skin crust from the parsley. The juices – including about ten roasted and crushed garlic cloves along with added lemon juice – added a final touch of flavor. We cooked the chicken with onions and roast potatoes along with roasting some tomatoes and green beans for sides.
All in all, it was a delightful winter meal on a cool and grey New Year’s Day afternoon.
This year, as the cool fall weather has moved in and the daylight is fading faster, we’ve been experimenting with various chicken soup recipes to find one that really “hits the spot.” There is something special about chicken soup – for both health and attitude! After several tries and variations, we think this one is just about perfect – and now it’s famous!
It’s a great Saturday or Sunday late afternoon treat to make in the fall and winter months. Hope you enjoy it – let us know by posting a comment!
To make it easy, you can purchase the key ingredients from Trader Joe’s and make relatively quick work out of putting the soup together. Plan on 35-40 minutes or so to get this soup ready – with some additional time afterwards to let the soup’s temperature cool down enough for eating.
- 1 carton of Trader Joe’s Mirapoix (14.5 oz of diced carrots, onions, celery)
- 1/2 package of Trader Joe’s Diced Onions (5 oz of 10 oz package)
- 10 oz package of cremini mushrooms
- 48 oz of Trader Joe’s organic free range chicken broth (1 + 1/2 32 oz. cartons)
- 12 oz of diced chicken breast (either prepackaged or cooked chicken tenders)
- 8 oz cooked of your favorite small pasta (we cook a 1 lb. package of
pasta – put half into the soup and save the other half for pasta salad, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup non-fat milk
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mini-saltine crackers to accompany
- Bring a large pot filled with water and 1 Tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for recommended duration – in parallel with the steps below. Strain and set aside.
- In another large pot (this one ends up holding the soup!), melt 1-1/2 Tbsp butter and mix with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the Mirapoix and the diced onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft (10-15 minutes)
- With the Mirapoix and diced onions are cooking, in a 10-inch fry pan, melt 1-1/2 Tbsp butter and mix with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp minced garlic.
- Add the mushrooms to the fry pan and sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes – then add mushrooms to large pot.
- When the Mirapoix, onions and mushrooms are done, stir in the Herbes de Provence and the flour.
- Add the chicken broth, diced chicken, garlic powder and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then reduce heat to low. Add the milk, lemon juice, and cooked pasta. Bring back up to a simmer for a final 5-10 mins.
- Serve in soup bowls with mini-saltine crackers. Suggestion – save your tongue: wait at least 5 minutes after serving before tasting!
Added: November 15, 2008 – Menlo Park, California
This is one of my all-time favorite quick meals – you can literally walk in the door and have a wonderful hot and healthy meal on the table in less that ten minutes!
And, Trader Joe’s would be happy – all of the ingredients come from there: Fire Roasted Vegetables in Balsamic Butter Sauce (frozen), Organic Brown Rice (frozen), and Just Chicken (fresh chicken pieces).
Add a splash of Chardonnay (a current favorite is the Olivet Lane Estate Russian River Valley Chardonnay from Pellegrini) and you’ve got a delightful, fresh, and very tasty stir-fry. Serves 2-3.
Continue reading “Scott’s Favorite Ultra-Quick Stir-Fry”
We enjoy making this Lemon Pasta Salad on for lunch on a Sunday and then
munching on it cold throughout the week either for lunch or when we need a
snack. It’s really good either warm right when you make it or cold.
Our inspiration for this salad came from one of our local markets, Andronico’s, who makes a version of this salad for their deli. Our original base recipe comes from a recipe in Bon Appetit, July 2000 issue where the writer claimed it was her own version of the deli version from Gelsons Market in Los Angeles. We tried a couple of our own variations before settling on this particular version.
The recipe uses about a pound (plus or minus — it doesn’t matter much) of
chicken (mostly breast meat). For convenience, I often get either a roasted chicken from the local market and strip it – or pick up two of the Louis Rich pre-cooked chicken breast pieces (two 6-oz packages) and use that. Of course, you can also cook chicken breasts specifically for the recipe!
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 3/4 to 1 pound of chicken cut into 3/4 inch strips
- 12 oz of lemon-pepper fettucine (we use
- 2 1/2 cups snow peas cut into matchstick size strips
- 3/4 cup pine nuts (raw or toasted, your pleasure)
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Boil the water (salted) and cook the pasta al dente style. Drain.
- In a large bowl, mix chicken pieces, snow pea strips, pine nuts and Italian parsley.
- Add the cooked pasta to the large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and mustard together and then slowly add the canola oil while mixing all the time into a smooth consistent mixture.
- Pour the mixture slowly over the pasta and other ingredients in the large bowl, mixing all the while. Toss until well coated and mixed.
Everyone needs an everyday roast chicken recipe – and this is ours! It a minor adaptation of the original by Gordon Hamersley, chef-owner of Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston — as published in Fine Cooking magazine. We lived in Boston over 15 years ago and used to love hitting Hamersley’s Bistro for this roast chicken dinner! We were back in Boston in 2007 and enjoyed another lovely edition of this dish!
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 Tbs. fresh, chopped)
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary (or 1 Tbs. fresh, chopped)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 whole roasting chicken (about 3-1/2 lb.),
rinsed under cold water and dried
- 1-2 onions, cut into thick slices
- 8-10 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, washed (but not
- Preheat the oven to 375º.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, the mustard, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Squeeze the juice from one lemon half into the herb mixture; squeeze the juice from the other half into a small bowl and reserve. Reserve the squeezed lemon halves.
- Spoon the herb mixture over the chicken and inside its cavity, rubbing to coat the chicken thoroughly. Put the reserved lemon halves inside the chicken’s cavity.
- Using a bowl, coat the potatoes with 2 Tbsp olive oil and either chopped fresh rosemary or herbs de Provence, salt and pepper.
- Put the onion slices onto the bottom of the roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put the chicken in the pan, breast side up. Surround the chicken with the potatoes.
- Cook until the meat is tender and the juices run clear at the thigh, about 1-1/4 hours. By this time, the potatoes should also be tender.
- Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl. Pour the juices from inside the chicken’s cavity into the roasting pan and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Transfer the onions to a serving bowl.
- Spoon off and discard as much fat as possible from the juices in the roasting pan. Set the pan with the juices over medium-low heat and pour in the reserved lemon juice along with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the pan juices into a serving pitcher.
- Cut the chicken into pieces. Serve with the pan juices poured individually over the chicken pieces.
(Originally Added: April 21, 2001)
[Update – January 1, 2009: Here’s Gordon Hamersly’s cook book titled Bistro Cooking at Home
. Here’s another version of Hamersly’s Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Lemon & Parsley and another version from Relish that was adapted from his Bistro Cooking book (see this article about making this version). Here’s a picture of the dish as served at Hamersly’s.]