Lemon Lavender Roast Chicken

I was in a general store last month and they had dried lavender amongst other things. I picked up some on a whim, not knowing if I wanted to cook with it or be crafty with it. As the grocery store had chicken thighs on sale, I decided to go ahead and cook with a portion of it.

This roast chicken recipe is very fragrant and flavorful. I think I will cook this again for a romantic occasion. I served it with roasted potatoes tonight that I dunked into the pan juices before serving. Next time, I might use the time while the chicken rests to make a sauce to pour over the chicken and jasmine rice.

Lemon Lavender Roast Chicken

Juice and zest of two lemons (approx 1/3 cup juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons dried lavender
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 3lb whole chicken or 3 lbs of chicken thighs
1 lemon cut into slices

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and place into a zip top bag with the chicken. Rub well to coat completely and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place chicken in a roasting pan on a rack, skin side up. Squeeze out any remaining marinade from the bag and smear it over the skin. Roast until the internal temperature of the thighs is 165 degrees, about 40 minutes to an hour. After 30 minutes of roasting, place slices of lemon on the chicken.

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Pickle Juice Brined Chicken

Daisy waits for the chicken to be done

I don’t know about you but when I eat the last pickle in the jar, it hurts me to let all that juice go down the drain. I’ve taken to saving it and using it as a brine on chicken. It is great as a base for fried chicken (especially if you’re like me and a fan of Chick-fil-a’s chicken but not their politics). It doesn’t make pickle chicken, though. There is a nice tang, like what you get from a buttermilk soak. I wanted to see if I could translate it to grilled or roasted chicken as well.

I used one of my favorite meat rubs (Emeril’s Rustic Rub) but any kind you have that includes salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper would be delicious.

Pickle Brined Roast Chicken

4 lb whole chicken
2 cups pickle juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry rub, plus additional

Stir together the pickle juice, sugar and rub. Whisk until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Place the chicken and liquid in a zip top bag and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

For grilling: Heat up a chimney full of coals and pour them in a half circle around the edge of your grill.

For the oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat an ovenproof skillet (I use cast iron) over medium high heat.

Remove chicken from the brine. Dry off the chicken and then coat with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with your dry rub.

For grilling: Place the chicken breast side up on the grill and and cook over indirect heat for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

For the oven: Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Set the chicken breast side down the hot pan and allow it cook for 10 minutes to brown. Flip the chicken over and transfer it right into the oven. Cook for 60 minutes in the oven or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Apple Cider Brined Roasted Chicken

This chicken is tangy and sweet and stays nice and juicy because of the brine. The recipe is adapted from a dish served at 3 Squares Café in Vergennes, Vermont.

chicken

I served it with a side dish of apples, bacon and sweet potato that I’ll post tomorrow.

Apple Cider Brined Roasted Chicken

6 cups (1.5 quarts) apple cider
1/3 cup coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons honey
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cups ice cubes
2 cups cold water
10 lbs chicken leg quarters
Olive oil to coat

Glaze

⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

In a large pot (big enough to hold 10lbs of chicken), combine cider, salt, peppercorns, garlic, honey and rosemary and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Stir in ice cubes and cold water. 

Place chicken pieces snugly in the the pot with the cooled brine to cover completely. Set a plate on top to keep the chicken under the surface of the brine. Set in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 12. Do not over brine, as this can make the chicken too salty.

Remove chicken from brine and pat chicken dry with paper towel. Place on baking racks over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered, for at least an hour and as long as 4.

When ready to roast chicken, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat chicken pieces dry once again with paper towel. Coat chicken skin lightly with olive oil and arrange them in a large roasting pan.

Roast chicken for 30-45 minutes or until light golden brown.

While chicken is roasting, in a small pan, whisk together honey and apple cider vinegar and then add chopped rosemary. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, at a gentle simmer, until reduced in volume by about one-half and is lightly syrupy, such that it clings to a pastry brush but is still liquid enough to brush, about 10 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and turn oven to broil with oven rack in position such that chicken will be about 3 inches from element. Brush chicken generously with glaze and return to oven for up to 5 minutes until skin is dark golden brown. Watch carefully.

Serve chicken drizzled with more glaze.

Buttermilk Herbes de Provence Roast Chicken

Nigella Lawson is a domestic goddess and I regularly consult her cookbooks – both for recipe ideas and because her writing/cooking style is a pleasure to read.

Tonight’s dinner was a riff off her Buttermilk Roast Chicken. Instead of the garlic, cumin and maple syrup, I only used herbes de Provence as my seasoning with the buttermilk. As a rule of thumb, the longer you soak the chicken in the buttermilk brine, the better it will be. Her original recipe was for drumsticks and for 2 hours – with a whole chicken, I recommend a minimum of 4 hours or, better yet, overnight.

buttermilk-chicken

Buttermilk Herbes de Provence Roast Chicken

3-5 lb whole chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Cut out the backbone of the chicken and crack the breast bone so it will lay flat. Set aside the backbone for use in stock. Mix together the buttermilk and herbes de Provence. Place the chicken in a gallon zip top bag and pour over the buttermilk mixture. Seal and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and as long as 24.

About an hour before cooking, remove the chicken from the brine and drain well. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When ready to cook, cover a roasting pan with foil and set the chicken on it breast side up. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts to keep from overcooking. Roast for 30 minutes before dropping the temperature to 350 degrees F for an additional 30 minutes. Check for doneness (internal temperature should be 165 degrees F for the thighs and 160 degrees F for the breast). Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

As you can see, we ate our chicken with asparagus that I had tossed in olive oil and a little salt and then cooked on a grill pan until tender but still a little crunchy.

Lemon Herbes de Provence Roast Chicken

I love the flavor that herbes de Provence brings to chicken. Add some lemon juice and lemon salt (made with the zest) and you’ve got a delicious Sunday night dinner.

You can make your own (here is Martha Stewart’s recipe) but I’m a big supporter of Penzys Spices (here is the link to buy theirs). Read this great letter from them on Cooking trumps Racism.

chicken-2

Lemon Herbes de Provence Roast Chicken

1 5lb whole chicken, backbone removed

1 quart strong tea
1 cup sugar
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons herbes de provence

Bring two cups of water to a boil with the sugar, salt and herbes de Provence. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of ice cubes to bring the temperature down. Mix with the quart of strong tea. Pour over chicken and brine for 2 to 4 hours.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice and herbes de Provence and coat entire chicken.Take lemon zest and mix it with the kosher salt. Set chicken breast side up in roasting pan and sprinkle with the lemon salt.

I covered the bottom of the pan with small Yukon gold potatoes (and some larger ones cut in half) and rested the chicken on them so they kept the chicken off the bottom and cooked with the chicken.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes per pound. With the chicken open like this, it takes about an hour but may take 75 to 90 minutes. At an hour, check the internal temperature (thighs should be at 165 degrees F) and tent with foil if the skin is getting too dark. Don’t seal tightly or the skin won’t stay crispy. Continue cooking until done.

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Stir potatoes around in drippings and serve with the chicken.

Cashew Chicken Dijon

This is a simple one dish meal for dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. The vibrancy of the peppers, the crunch of the cashews and the tang of the sauce all go together for fancy-feeling weeknight meal.

chicken

Cashew Chicken Dijon

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 small breasts), cut into strips
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup Dijon mustard (we used Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup cashew halves and pieces

Cook and stir peppers in 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet on high heat. Remove from pan.

Add remaining oil and chicken to skillet and cook until chicken cooked through. Remove from pan.

Whisk together broth, mustard and cornstarch. Add to skillet and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Return chicken and peppers to the skillet. Cook and stir until heated through. Stir in cashews.

Serve over rice.

Pomegranate Chicken

Michelle and I went to the tree giveaway of the NOLA Tree Project this morning, hoping to get a pomegranate tree. Alas, none were to be found (although we did pick up a pecan and a sweet olive). To make up for her disappointment, I fixed a chicken tonight with pomegranate molasses. While you can make your own, I bought mine at Mona’s Middle Eastern grocery and you can also find it at grocery stores with a good international section.

chicken-pomegranate

Pomegranate Chicken

3 tablespoons pomegranate molases
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 chicken breasts
enough fingerling potatoes for all
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup raw pecans, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk pomegranate glaze, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour the pomegranate mixture over chicken and let sit while you prep the potatoes, mushrooms, and pecans. After about 30 minutes of marinading, combine everything in a casserole baking dish.

Bake covered for 45 minutes then uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, for about an hour total. Internal temperature of the breasts should be 165 degrees F.

As an alternative to the fingerling potatoes, omit them and serve the cooked chicken, mushrooms, pecans and pan sauce over wild rice.

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