Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Roasted Chicken Thighs. 100 Days of Recipes: Day 36

Roasted Chicken Thighs

current reading
I'm not really intending to just cook my way through "The Pleasures of Cooking for One" from start to finish, but as it happens, I picked up some lovely chicken thighs at the Tailgate Market, and her very first recipe is for a Broiled or Roasted Chicken that just hit the spot. Actually, it's the first formal recipe, as the introductory writing in the first chapter is a recipe of sorts on general kitchen preparation. I was pleased to read a lot of what I already have and do, and that we share the belief that cooking is "an ongoing process, one dish leading to another," (Pleasures of Cooking for One, p.4) and she has a lot of lovely, handmade pottery throughout her images, which makes Judith Jones my kitchen BFF. I also got a giggle out of this section:

fresh garlic scapes and young onions were my substitutions 
It wasn't in the list of essential equipment, but I thought a
mezzaluna would have been great to mince up these aromatics.
Then again, I do love my kitchen knives of all sorts!

"... If you don't happen to have an ingredient that I suggest, try a likely substitute - a shallot for a small onion, some fennel instead of celery, a different root vegetable to replace the ubiquitous carrot, dried mushrooms for fresh. Above all, don't throw away those few tablespoons of cooked spinach, or the three or four extra spears of asparagus you couldn't quite finish, and particularly the little bit of precious juice left in the pan - all these can be used in myriad ways and offer the single home cook some creative challenges."
(Pleasures of Cooking for One, p5)

It tickles me because so often when I'm sharing recipes, I'm usually sharing lists of optional replacements, and a friend recently noted the extreme number of "small jars" in my fridge - all with bits of this and that leftover from some previous meal.

I digress - so the first recipe I come to in the book is for Broiled Chicken, and in what I think is the very spirit intended, I immediately see how I can change it up to suit my ingredients. Here's what I did:

Roast Chicken

4 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs

for the Herbal Undercoating:
1 Garlic Scape bulb, peeled and cleaned
1 good size, or two small spring onion bulbs, with about 3-4 inches of the greens, too
2 strips of lemon peel
handful of parsley leaves
fresh ground pepper
2 TBSP olive oil

Accompanying Veg:
1 small Sweet potato, cut into wedges
3-4 med/large mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half or quarters
3-4 baby turnips, cleaned and trimmed and cut in half
1 small carrot, in thick slices across the round
salt and pepper

I prepped and cooked this dish in one of my ceramic pie plates, so I did not pre-heat the oven, but put it in cold and then set it to 375. More on that later, but if you're not cooking in handmade ceramic, you can pre-heat your oven to 375 and use a roasting pan.

Rinse and pat dry the thighs, and place them skin-side up in the pie plate. 

Prep the Undercoating*:
Finely chop the garlic scape, onion bulb, and green onion with a good sprinkle of salt to a coarse paste texture. Chop up the lemon peel and parsley, and add it to the other and chop/mince it all together with the olive oil. Add a generous amount of fresh ground pepper. Divide out the mixture in four parts, and after creating an opening and separation of the skin on the thigh, push 1/4 of the undercoating mix under the skin of each thigh, pressing on the top of the skin to help spread it evenly. Salt and pepper the skin side, then flip them over and salt and pepper the other side (leave skin side down). 

You may most certainly bake/roast in handmade ceramic -
Just heat the dish with the oven. There are very few recipes that
truly require a 'pre-heated' oven. The flavors develop beautifully.
It's kind of like chicken pot pie - the extreme 'gluten-free' version!
When you cut your accompanying veg, place them all in a bowl, and give a very slight drizzle of olive oil over them, tossing them to get them all coated. Salt and pepper them, and then add them to the pie plate with the chicken.

Place the pie plate in a cold oven, then set it to 375 degrees. In a pre-heated oven, you might roast the chicken 20-25 minutes, then flip them skin side up and roast for another 10 minutes. Starting in a cold oven, you will have to adjust that a bit, maybe just adding another 5-10 minutes for the warm up. I flipped the chicken after about 35 minutes, and the skin was nicely done, but I worried about over cooking, so decided to re-crisp the skin under the broiler. That was a great idea, but a slight distraction caused me to check it about 3-4 minutes later than intended. Everything was still DELICIOUS, if not a bit charred here and there. Extra flavor.

Roasted in handmade, served on handmade, and delicious!
*I'm sharing my take on this wonderful recipe, and I don't know how available or hard to find this book is, but I highly recommend seeking it out if you don't have it, because her own style of describing a process, along with some other very cook tips and tricks that I didn't include, are in the book. Get the book.

Another good thing to come out of prepping this meal, and as encouraged in the book, I had a good bit of vegetable bits and ends, and I brewed up a nice pot of veggie stock that will become a soup later this week. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment