Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

In December, we did an interview for the online magazine Doctor's Wives Living, for whom we have been contributing recipes. One of the questions we were asked was "For people who do not cook regularly, what one dish they learn to make for a dinner party?" My answer was a simple roasted chicken, its easy, quick and always tastes good. Roast chicken is beautiful for homey dinners, or for fancy get togethers.

1 roasting chicken (you can also use a fryer, but roasters are larger and more tender)
1 lemon, quartered
2 whole heads of garlic
2 tablespoons butter
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take the chicken and check it for any residual feathers or fat around the neck and cavity.
3. Pat the chicken dry both inside and out. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity.
4. Stuff the cavity with thyme, 1 head of garlic (cut in half crosswise), and lemon pieces.
5. Rub the chicken with butter, and salt and pepper liberally.
6. Place in a roasting pan or deep sided casserole dish.
7. Break the remaining head of garlic into cloves, leaving the skin on, and put in the bottom of the pan.
8. Bake the chicken, basting every 30 minutes, for 90 minutes, until juices run clear, or until the leg pulls easily when you pull on it.
9. Let rest at least 15 minutes before carving.

Tip: The garlic in the bottom of the pan will be beautifully roasted, and can either be used to further flavour the gravy. But it is even better if you squeeze it out of the skins and put it in your mashed potatoes, or just spread it on fresh french bread.  So awesome!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Breakfast Strata with Sausage and Cheddar

We know that January is supposed to be a time of restraint, and the beginning of new diet resolutions, but sometimes its important to have something delicious too. Maybe this recipe will fulfill your resolution to try something new, or to be less stressed when company is coming over. This is a simple but awesome brunch dish that can be made the night before and kept in the fridge. It also makes a great dinner for those nights when you can't think of what to make. It also uses up all those odd leftover things in the fridge cause you can add whatever you like, from different meats or veggies.

Serves 6.

1 pound of mild italian sausage (you can also use breakfast sausage if you want something milder)
8 slices of stale bread (I used 10 leftover mini-croissants for this one)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
12 mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons italian parsley
1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper

1. Remove the sausage from the casings, and brown in a shallow frying pan until fully cooked.
2. Drain and reserve the fat, put sausage in a casserole dish.
3. In a tablespoon of reserved fat, saute onions then mushrooms. When done, add to sausage meat.
4. Roughly cube the bread, chop parsley and toss with cheese and ingredients in the casserole dish.
5. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
6. Pour egg mixture over the other ingredients, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to overnight.
7. Take strata out of fridge 30 minutes before baking.
8. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake approximately 50 - 60 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean, top is golden brown and puffed.
9. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Split Pea and Ham Soup - Slow Food with Soul

For our first post this year, we made one of our favorite winter dishes. Rich and hearty but surprisingly low in fat. Perfect for these cold nights. Serve with warmed sourdough bread or our Cheddar and Chive Biscuits. This recipe does need to be started a day in advance as we make the ham stock the first day, and let it chill overnight so we can skim all the fat before making the soup.
Serves 6.

Ingredients for Stock:
4 Liters of cold water
1 Ham hock2 Carrots, halved
1 Onion, quartered
6 Peppercorns
4 Bay Leaves
3 Stalks celery, halved

Ingredients for Soup:
Ham stock from above
2 Cups split green peas, rinsed
1 Cup of ham, cubed or shredded
2 Carrots, cut in rounds
Salt and Pepper

1. Take the ham hock and cut into thirds. This will allow us to get the most flavour out.
2. Put all the ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a rolling boil, turn town heat, cover, and simmer for 2-3 hours. DO NOT ADD SALT. 
3. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 1 hour.
4. Using a colander, strain the soup into a large pot or bowl.
5. Refrigerate overnight.
6. The next day, remove and discard the congealed fat from the surface of the stock. Stock will be gelatinous, this is a good thing.
7. Bring the strained and fat free stock up to a boil.
8. Add split peas, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Time to cook may vary.
9. When the peas are cooked, add veggies and cook for 10 minutes. Add ham and cook to heat through.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.