WFD? Lemon & Oregano Roast Chicken with New Potatoes and Asparagus

Spring has been acting a bit like a spoiled brat this year. I can handle the odd outburst or bout of crankiness, but this flat out misbehaving has got to stop. Instead of writing about perfect picnic fare, complete with idyllic photographs of us sprawled on a blanket, dining alfresco by a lake, as I had hoped, I’m posting on that classic winter meal: roast chicken.
It’s June, but the weather has hardly warmed up, and don’t get me started on all the rain and other tantrums thrown by spring. For Pete’s sake, there’s a creek running through my favorite picnic spot from all the rain runoff.

Yeah, so while the rest of you are probably sipping your G&T’s and slurping your gazpacho poolside, I’m roasting a chicken and throwing another log on the fire.

This recipe does hint of spring, though, with it’s roasted asparagus spears, new potatoes, and fresh oregano from the garden. Coating a chicken in lemon and herbs and roasting it is certainly nothing new, but this is basic fare that I find hard to tire of. I use oregano because I have copious amounts of it, but thyme or sage would be just as lovely. Use about half the amount that the recipe calls for if you do switch up the fresh herbs, though.

The potatoes and asparagus are roasted on the side, but do mound them up around the chicken afterward for a beautiful rustic presentation.

Lemon & Oregano Rubbed Roast Chicken
Serves four with leftovers

1 whole organic chicken, patted dry (about 6 lbs)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
two lemons, zested and juiced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

In a small food processor, combine oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic. Pulse a few times until it looks like pesto. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.

Using your hands, rub lemon-oregano marinade all over chicken. Lift the skin over the breast and be sure to get plenty of marinade on the breast meat. Refrigerate for 2-8 hours. Remove from fridge about a half an hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place chicken in roasting pan breast side up ( I like to use a clay baker for roasting fowl) and place in oven. Roast about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before slicing. At this time, roast your vegetable garnish.

Roasted New Potatoes and Asparagus with Lemon

Enough small new potatoes for four people
a lemon
generous bundle of asparagus
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
sea salt

In a large pot, rinse potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2-3 minutes until slightly softened, but still raw in the center. Drain and cool.
Snap the ends off of the asparagus and peel the bottom two thirds of the stalk. Slice at a diagonal into two inch lengths.
Crank oven to 450F.
Slice lemon in half lengthwise and each half into six wedges. Toss potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves and lemon with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and spread out onto a baking sheet. Roast about 12 minutes until nicely colored and potatoes have cooked through. Shake the pan every few minutes during the cooking process to ensure even colouring.
Remove from oven, season with additional salt if necessary, and serve with roast chicken.

Twitterpated over Roast Broccoli with Lemon

It’s no secret that I *heart* Twitter.

I mean, where else can you ask a vague question such as “Anyone remember that broccoli recipe that was making the rounds on blogs a while ago?” and have an answer, THE answer, in less than a minute?
Twitter beats Google that’s for sure! Try Googling ‘that broccoli recipe’ and see if you get any luck. Instead of searching through hundreds of recipes looking for a specific one, a friend on Twitter immediately sent me a link to the one I was thinking of and offered a tip on preparing it as well. Sweet!
Ah, what a great group are those Tweeple.

So this recipe
is a little far off from my usual repertoire of desserts and all things rich, but when Adam of The Amateur Gourmet called Ina Garten‘s recipe the ‘best broccoli of your life‘, I knew I would have to give it a go. I changed it up a bit by tossing in some red peppers just because I had a bunch, and omitted the Parmesan cheese. Not that I don’t think Parmesan isn’t good on pretty much anything but I was temporarily out.
Guess what? The broccoli was still terrific. Meaty, tangy–it certainly had some soul to it, which made up for what it lacked in the looks department. It ain’t pretty!
Looks aside, this just might be my new favorite vegetable side dish. Move over asparagus.

Did I really just say that?

Roasted Broccoli and Red Peppers with Lemon

Adapted from “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics”
Serves 6 as a side dish

4 to 5 pounds broccoli

2 red peppers

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Good olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Halve and seed peppers and cut into 1-inch chunks.
Place the broccoli florets and red pepper on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Serve hot.

Thanksgiving Part 2: Side Dishes

Guess what arrived in my mailbox yesterday? The Martha Stewart Living November issue with a big, fat, perfect turkey on the front and the title “Thanksgiving Solved!” We’re a little ahead of the game here at UtHC.
I think my side dishes–not to mention my stuffing–were better than the ones she featured, but you can decide for yourself! Let’s continue with our meal.

First up we have Maple Glazed Baby Carrots, harvested from the earth the same day they were served. They were so naturally sweet, the syrup was an unnecessary, but lavish touch. Wondering why they are a funny color? These are my purple carrots, which look almost black when they are cooked.

I’ve enjoyed brussel sprouts every time I’ve had them; I can’t understand why they have such a bad rap. They brought such gorgeous color to our Thanksgiving table and were far more elegant than the common green bean (and don’t even get me started on canned peas!). Just a head’s up for the mama’s reading: there were plenty of brussel sprouts rolling around under the high chair as these were not a hit with the little ones. More for us grown-ups, that’s all!

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Lemon

Brussel Sprouts

Walnuts, lightly toasted

Salt and Pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Prepare brussel sprouts by peeling away one layer of outer leaves and scoring an ‘X’ in the bottoms, about 1/8th of an inch deep. Drop brussel sprouts into the boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes, less if they are really small. A sharp knife poked into the center should still meet with some resistance. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a tray. (This part can be done well before the meal)
Just before serving, melt butter in a sauce pan and toss in a pinch of the lemon zest. Add
brussel sprouts and pan roast until they start to get some golden patches. Some people prefer to slice them in half and brown the cut side generously. Mine were very small, about the size of a grape, so I chose to leave them whole. Toss in the rest of the lemon zest and a handful of walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This dish held up well in a warm oven for about 15 minutes while I brought the rest of the meal together.

Lest I lead you to believe I cooked this entire Thanksgiving dinner on my own, let me assure you that I didn’t! It was a joint effort, a well-executed pot-luck, I would go so far as to say, and that made all the difference. How else would I have been able to photograph every dish for your viewing pleasure?!
The best part of a pot-luck is getting to try new dishes that you may not necessarily have made on your own. My brother-in-law, Kevin (of the Egg McMuffin) contributed this amazing Butternut Squash Gratin, which was so light, it reminded me of a soufflé. I am not accustomed to cooking with Miracle Whip–I’ve never purchased it in my 30 years–but this gratin just might make me a believer. Maybe.
If you have family members who protest when you serve squash, try this dish and see if any one is complaining! I don’t think you’ll hear a peep.

Butternut Squash Casserole

3 cups chopped butternut squash
1 onion, chopped

2/3 cup sharp cheddar, shredded

15 crackers (Ritz like), crushed

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip dressing

Heat oven to 350F. Cook squash in boiling water in covered saucepan 15min. or until tender. Rinse under cold water; drain. Mix squash and remaining ingredients; spoon into 8-inch square baking dish.
Bake 1 hour or until heated through.

Dinner is served! Clockwise from top center: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Onion Buttermilk Rolls, Apple & Fruit Stuffing, Maple Glazed Purple Carrots.

My sister contributed these Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes; comfort food at it’s best. She also found time between volunteering at the SPCA and writing an essay to whip up a gravity-defying deep-dish Apple Streusel Pie, but I’m saving that for the next post! Stay tuned.

Click here for Thanksgiving Part 1: Turkey & Co