Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Chicken

After a great fun, relaxing weekend, sometimes I get the Sunday blues.  I just feel sad and I can't explain why.  I think its a combination of the fact that it is no longer acceptable to drink wine before 4PM, I feel slightly guilty for the amount of food and alcohol I consumed on Friday and Saturday, and I have to get back to the boring weekly routine the next day.  Whenever you feel the Sunday blues coming on, my advice... ROAST A CHICKEN!

Roasting a chicken gives you back your control over the weekend.  It occupies your entire day.  And it gives you leftovers to take for lunch all week!

1 whole roasting chicken (I bought mine with the giblets already removed, cause removing giblets does not increase your likelihood of beating the Sunday blues.)
1/2 stick of butter
1 lemon (quartered)
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350.  Add a little water or chicken stock to a roasting pan (I don't have a roasting pan, so I just used a good old fashioned baking sheet.)  Temper your chicken - which means take it out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before you start to cook it.  chop the lemon in quarters and chop the onion as well.  Stuff them inside the chicken with the cloves of garlic.  Melt the butter and mix it with the thyme, then rub it all over the chicken, even under the skin.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken depending on the weight and the packing instructions.  Baste the chicken every 35-40 minutes.  Be sure to let it rest before you butcher it and serve it.

Smokey Chili

I went for a long walk on the treadmill this morning in our apartment's basement gym.  It was just a little too chilly to walk outside - I am so desperate and anxious for Spring, but these chilly days keep sneaking their way in.  There is a crappy TV that hangs in the corner of the gym and when no one else is around, I watch the Food Network, naturally.  This chili is inspired by Rachel Rey's butternut squash hot pot chili.  Not to be a braggart, but this is one of the best dishes I have ever created.  Rach, thanks for spicing up my Sunday and for making me want to walk an extra mile to see the final dish!

Olive Oil
l butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons nutmeg
three Italian sausages, castings removed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium zucchinis, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed garlic paste
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
2 cups chicken stock

Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  While the squash roasts, heat a pan with olive oil and cook the sausages (castings removed).  Remove the sausages to a plate to cool.  Add a little more oil to the hot pan, then add the onions and zucchini.  After about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, add the roasted red pepper (I just roasted the pepper on top of my gas stove burner until all sides were charred, then let it cool, then removed the skin and seeds and chopped it up).  Then add sausage back to the pan, followed by the seasonings and the diced tomatoes and black beans.  Finally, add the chicken stock and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.

I served it with a dollop of sour cream and some crusty french bread - YUM!