Thursday, September 27, 2018

Roasted Chicken with Cranberries and Potatoes

I love buying cranberries during the fall, especially since it used to be hard to find fresh cranberries. Sometimes I get overzealous and find myself with a few extra packets of cranberries when the season is over! So what to do but continue to cook with them? I usually throw the packages in the freezer and pull them out as needed.

I love using the baby tri-colored potatoes shown above, simply because they're pretty. The medley of colors in this dish is insane and would make a great presentation for an dinner party, or just a cozy dinner with your family/friends. The fact that it's one pan is also helpful!

Roasted Chicken with Cranberries and Potatoes
adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Serves 4

4 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 Tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb tri-colored baby potatoes, halved
4 carrots, chopped into 1" pieces
1 cup white wine or chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Trim extra fat/skin from the chicken. Rub with 1 Tbps olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. Really get in there with your hands and make sure everything is evenly and thoroughly coated. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sear chicken skin-side down until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from skillet.

Add butter, potatoes, carrots and a pinch of salt/pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Pour in wine and deglaze. Scrape around for all the pan bits and flavors. Simmer for 5 more minutes, until reduced slightly.

Remove from heat and nestle in chicken. Squeeze lemon juice all over.

In a small brown, toss together cranberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle cranberries over the chicken and transfer pan to oven. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and potatoes/carrots are tender. Serve hot.

* if you are me and love flavors AND your chicken is a bit on the oily side, you can make ANOTHER dish for the next day. We ate the chicken and veggies but didn't use any of the "sauce" at the bottom of the pan because the chicken fat, butter and oil combination made it a bit greasy. I scooped out the chicken and veggies, leaving as much of the sauce behind as I could.

I bought another pound of tri-colored potatoes (halved), 10-15 brussel sprouts (halved), 3 carrots (cut into 1" pieces), and 1/2 onion (sliced) ... and tossed all those together with the flavor bits and chicken fat at the bottom of the skillet. There should be plenty to go around but if you need to, add a couple more tsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then roast in oven for about 30 min or until tender, stirring once halfway through.

Two dishes for the price of one, and just as pretty. I loved it! Feel free to use whatever veggie combinations you would like, including cauliflower, turnips, butternut squash, etc. OR my other new favorite thing to do is roast leftover crudite platters from parties! Most of the time, there is so much food that the crudite platter is barely touched. Everything is already basically cut up so you can just throw and roast. But feel free to cut into more manageable pieces for stuff like baby carrots, celery and radishes (which I've also discovered is great when roasted).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kale & Butternut Squash Stracciatella Soup

Ignore all items in the photo except for the soup on the right hand side! The other items were just part of dinner ... Korean potato salad, some veggie that I love but cannot seem to find the name for, and a baked sweet potato.

This stracciatella soup is courtesy of Bon Appetit and is very very low maintenance for nights where you don't want to do too much. But you want soup! Because it's cold! Or as cold as Southern California gets.

Kale & Butternut Squash Stracciatella Soup
Serves 4

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1./2 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 butternut squash, sliced into 1/2" slices*
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and shredded
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded chicken (optional)
Crushed red pepper flakes and crusty bread (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Cook onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. Add chicken broth, water and butternut squash. Add some salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes, until squash is tender. Add kale, stir thoroughly and let everything cook together for another 5 minutes.

Whisk cheese into beaten eggs along with 1/4 tsp salt, in a small bowl. Stir the soup with a spoon and then slowly drizzle in egg/cheese mixture, from about 6 inches from the top of the pot. Let sit for about 15 seconds, then stir thoroughly into the egg-size pieces you prefer. Less storring means bigger ribbons of egg and more stirring will break them up more. I did a pretty thorough stirring so my eggs look more broken in the photo above.

Season with some red pepper flakes and additional salt and pepper. The cheese in the eggs are salty as well so use a light hand at first. Remove from heat and stir in chicken.

Serve with bread and additional cheese, if desired.

* I find that supermarkets are charging 4-5x the cost of butternut squash, just to peel and cube it for you ($0.99/lb in its original form vs $3.99/lb in prepared form). DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP! Buy a medium-sized butternut squash (about 3/4-1 lb) and peel it with any vegetable peeler. Using your largest kitchen knife, slice it in half on a sturdy service. Be careful not to cut your fingers off. Remove the seeds with a sturdy spoon. They're kind of like pumpkin seeds. Slice off the stem and bottom, then place cut-side down on a cutting board and cut into 1/2 in slices.