It has been a while since my last post and I can only attribute it to bad weather (I seem to go into super lazy mode with the nature) and a lack of true inspiration to come with new recipes. I have accumulated a huge arsenal of “usual”, my go to recipes that I have no interest in posting. I am in serious need of some fresh culinary inspiration and hopefully an upcoming trip to the land of California food and wine will provide just that. In the meantime, I am contemplating all things chicken…
Why do we refer to being afraid of something, being “Chicken”? Are chickens a particularity wimpy bird? In my limited exposure to live poultry I never observed timorous behavior, quite the opposite, chickens are quite a fighters, hence the fighting roosters. And if you follow that train of thought, why do we call a crazy head-on driving challenge a “game of chicken”? Seems that you if you embark on such a stupid and dangerous path you are not only not afraid but are certifiably nuts. I envy people who are not intimidated to make changes, who will dive fearlessly into anything from a new haircut to a different career, I am on the other hand will always chicken out….
Unless you have a particular fear of chickens (which by the way is called Alektrophobia, and believe it or not it is quite a common condition…) it is the number one consumed protein in this country. It seems that on average, each American consumes over 85lbs of chicken a year. It is a lot of birds and if you read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by M. Pollan you will be horrified at where and how most of these birds come from. The book, if it doesn’t turn you off meat completely, will certainly make you reconsider buying your chicken at the corner supermarket. And considering how much chicken we eat we are always hungry for new ways to cook it. I have dozens of ways to cook a perfect chicken but really there are only two that I go to time and time again. For me, the best chicken is the roasted one, the kind that is as good just out of the oven as it is cold straight out of the fridge. And it is that cold roasted chicken that I can eat whole, at midnight, picking on little bits with the fridge door open, meaning to take one more bite and put the damn thing back… never happens, this stuff is like cocaine…
This particular recipe is a favorite for the warm months when I have tons of herbs growing in my garden, and because the marinade works if you wanted to grill the chicken instead.
Pan roasted Herb and Lemon Chicken with a Tangy dipping sauce.
1 Whole Organic, Free Range chicken quartered bone-in.
A handful of parsley
A handful of basil
4 – 5 sprigs of thyme
1 tbs of fresh oregano
1 small spring of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
1 small hot pepper (such as jalapeno or another type of chili, not to spicy)
¼ cup of olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
A splash of white wine vinegar
1 tbs kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Vegetable oil for cookingMarinate the chicken. In the food processor combine all the ingredients (except the chicken) and pulse until smooth.
Slater the herb mixture all over the chicken, cover and marinade in the fridge for a few hours or better overnight.
When ready to cook, let the chicken come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I honestly think that a cast iron skillet is a must here). When the pan is very hot, place the chicken skin side down, cover and place something heavy on top, like another cast iron pan or a brick. Cook the chicken for a few minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy, then turn and cook about a minute on the other side covering and weighting down.
Take off the cover, flip the chicken so it is skin side up and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 20 - 25 min or until thigh juices run clear. Let rest a few minutes before cutting.
I like to serve this with the Tangy sauce and Japanese vegetable pancakes, which I cannot get enough off these days. Both are recipes of the Smitten Kitchen and can be found at this link - http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/05/japanese-cabbage-and-vegetable-pancakes/.