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.
Today, for our Christmas dinner 2009, we’ll be cooking a 14-lb Diestel turkey that we’ve dry-brined this week using this recipe from an article in the Los Angeles Times. Dry brining requires thinking ahead – like three days ahead when the turkey needs to be salted and tucked away in the back of the refrigerator.
We’ll be cooking the bird today using our high-heat upside down roast turkey recipe, a family favorite that produces wonderful results.
Friends are bringing a couple of side dishes to have along with the stuffing we’ll be making. Yum! – getting hungry already!
Update: Just a quick note to report that the Christmas turkey turned out to be excellent – moist white meat, great flavor! Our little experiment in dry-brining the holiday bird was a big success! Thanks to Russ Parsons for his article and recipe!
A couple of weeks ago, I came across Elise Bauer’s recipe for “Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers” on her outstanding Simply Recipes web site. We made the recipe and enjoyed it very much.
This afternoon, with family company coming, we needed to put something quick together for Saturday supper – and, as it turned out, we had a package of ground turkey in the fridge.
We also had a package of Trader Joe’s “Fire Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Butter Sauce” in the freezer. (These veggies are also our favorite as a base for a quick chicken and rice stir-fry!)
So, we tried a new variation on Elise’s Mom’s ground turkey recipe – using these ingredients we had on hand – along with an 8 oz can of Muir Glen Tomato Sauce that was in our pantry. The result was great – in about 20 mins – with a bit more liquid/sauce than in Elise’s original recipe. We served it over a package of Trader Joe’s brown rice – so easy to cook in 3 mins in the microwave. Very tasty indeed!
- Olive oil
- 1 package Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Butter Sauce
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 package ground turkey (we used 1.25 lb Foster Farms from Safeway)
- 1 tsp chipotle chili pepper
- 1 Tbsp dried Italian parsley
- 1 Tbsp dried cilantro
- 1 8 oz can of Muir Glen tomato sauce
- 1 packet Trader Joe’s Microwave Brown Rice
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the Fire Roasted Vegetables and cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the ground turkey to the skillet in small “chunks”, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chipotle chili powder. Add the Italian parsley and cilantro.
- Cook the ground turkey until it is browned on one side, then turn over to cook on the other side. Add the tomato sauce.
- When the turkey is cooked through (3-4 minutes), add back the vegetables and warm mixture. If serving with rice, cook the rice in the microwave for 3 mins.
- To serve, spoon the rice into bowls and cover with the turkey/vegetable mixture.
[First posted: June 6, 2009]
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 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”
For our Christmas family dinner this year, we roasted a 12-lb turkey that turned out delicious. For the first time, we tried a new technique consisting of roasting the bird upside down (breasts down) and high-heat kickoff followed by a two step heat reduction while roasting (a total of 3 different temperatures are used). All you do is manage time and temperature – nothing could be simpler.
In the past, we’ve done brining and that works well to yield a moist bird. But the high-heat upside-down approach used here delivered just about the best, most moist turkey we’ve tasted – without the hassles of brining. Note: I kind of had to give up brining – my wife just can’t stand the thought of open bowls of water and poultry in our refrigerator – she sees salmonella dancing everywhere around! Besides, as she says, there’s never enough room in the ‘frig anyway at this time of year!
Continue reading “Scott’s High Heat Upside-Down Roast Turkey Recipe”
A couple of years ago, the Chronicle tested a number of different recipes for roasting turkey and this particular best way brined turkey recipe came out on top – and has become a classic.
Update: We’ve come up with an alternative – without the mess of brining – that’s also just delicious! Try our high heat upside-down turkey recipe instead.
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.]