Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Orange- Rosemary Roast Chicken

Lots of people have been asking me for recipes for whole chickens. Honestly, roasting a whole chicken is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken, not to mention that sometimes (like this week actually) you can get whole chicken for so cheap that it is a crime not to buy it. Of course you can bring it home and cut it yourself but there is just something about a whole roasted chicken- cooked right they come out succulent, moist, and juicy and just a few ingredients go a long way to give it great flavor. This combination of orange and rosemary really is divine with chicken. The taste wasn't too overwhelmingly orange and the orange wedges stuffed in the chicken helped to steam the chicken from the inside and contributed to its moistness. If you know me, or have ever eaten in my house, you would know that I rarely eat what I cook because by the time I sit down at the table after spending hours in the kitchen I just have no appetite anymore but I broke my own rule and devoured this chicken. With beautiful oranges in season now and whole chicken for a measly 10 shekel a kilo this is going to be my go to Friday night chicken. Mayonnaise may seem like an odd ingredient but it does what butter would do on a roasted chicken which is help the skin become crisp and golden and helps to keep the chicken breast moist. If you are opposed to mayonnaise however, you can just use some olive oil. Enjoy!

1 3-4 pound chicken
1 orange, cut into 4
1 head garlic, keep it whole just slice the top off to expose the cloves
3 stalks rosemary
1/2 medium onion
1 1/2 Tbl mayonnaise
salt, pepper, granulated garlic powder and paprika
1/2 cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the chicken in the pan breast side up and stuff the cavity of the chicken with the orange wedges, the head of garlic, 1 stalk of rosemary and the onion. If all the orange doesn't fit in you can just keep it in the pan. Spread the mayonnaise all over the chicken and season the whole chicken with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and paprika. Pour the orange juice in the pan and add the other stalks of rosemary to the pan as well. Roast covered for an hour and a half. Uncover and roast for another 45 minutes, basting with the pan juice occasionally until golden.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup

I should have totally gotten my act together to get this soup on the blog before Thanksgiving but alas it was not meant to be. But it would have been perfect, I'm just saying. Good thing soup is necessary now that winter has hit us but good over here and this velvety soup hits the spot. I love chestnuts. Love them. But Lord Almighty, why does it have to be so hard to peel them?! At least twice a year I buy a big bag full, follow all Google directions for roasting perfectly, put them in the oven, wait patiently and excitedly for them to be ready, and then spend endless minutes trying in vain to peel them while simultaneously trying to avoid hacking up my fingers on the sharp peels. Honestly, I do not know what I am doing wrong but THANKFULLY they now sell ready to eat, perfectly smooth and peeled chestnuts in every store and very reasonably priced. I can now get my chestnut fix weekly without having to bandage my hands. The taste of chestnuts are subtle but I love how they add their pleasantly starchy texture and delicate earthy sweetness to this soup. Paired with the roasted squash, the soup, cooked with stock and then pureed yields a beautiful velvet texture that is a delightful to eat. So though I am sad this was not what would have been an amazing appetizer for a Thanksgiving meal I will happily be enjoying it throughout the next wintery week. Enjoy!

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbl oil, divided
12oz (340 grams) peeled chestnuts
2 shallots, or one purple onion
2 cloves garlic
7 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the butternut squash and sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbl  oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes until the squash starts to become tender. Add the chestnuts to the roasting pan, toss with the vegetables and roast another 10 minutes. Heat the remaining one tablespoon oil in a soup pot and saute the shallots and garlic. Add the roasted vegetables and chestnuts to the pot and add the stock and spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes and then puree the soup and serve.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cheesy Mexican Latkes

Is it sacrilegious to have Mexican food on Chanukkah? It almost feels like it is, but my theory is that as long as it's fried it counts. I made a Mexican themed Chanukkah meal for some family that came over including a "make your own burrito" bar but the highlight to me were these latkes. Potatoes and cheese go SO well together that I do not know why it did not dawn on me sooner to combine the two. The cheese ( in this case cheddar and mozzarella) in the mixture sort of helps to form this crispy cheesy crust on the latke that remains crispy even after many hours and has that unbelievably delicious and addictive taste of baked, slightly well done cheese that I love- you know, like the cheese that falls of your pizza and gets a little done and almost tastes like a cheese cracker? The whole latke is a cheese (and potato) cracker. Trust me on this one, you are going to want to make them. To add to the Mexican theme I added some chopped jalapeno which you could leave out if you are not into heat and some chopped cilantro. I served them topped with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and more cheddar and we could not stop crunching away on them. There are still 4 days left to Chanukkah, plenty of time to add these to your menu! Enjoy!

6 medium potatoes, shredded ( I hand shredded which leaves you with less liquid- if using the food processor, strain out as much liquid as you can)
4 large eggs
1 small jalapeno, chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying
guacamole and sour cream for serving

Mix the potatoes, eggs, jalapeno, cilantro, flour, oil, cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Heat about an inch of oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry until crispy and flip over and crisp the other side. Drain on paper towels and serve.