Christ the King Sunday Supper

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. Christ the King Sunday is recognized by both Catholic and Protestant Churches. That said, I can only share my Catholic understanding and perspective of the day. I am not familiar with the traditions of Christ the King outside my own faith, although I would love to learn.

Continue reading “Christ the King Sunday Supper”

Rosemary Pork Roast with Carrots

Not every Sunday equates to chicken, but Sundays gotta have something special. It’s the Lord’s Day after all. As Catholics, we don’t just attend Mass, the Mass is Celebrated. Life should be celebrated. I know, sometimes that’s a tall order. Sometimes there is so much pain and suffering you cannot help but wonder why.

Continue reading “Rosemary Pork Roast with Carrots”

Scallopini Sunday Supper

I gotta tell you, when I was originally putting this together, it was going to be all about the Pork Chops. But then I realized this is a lovely Sunday Supper and all I needed to make it complete was to share a few more recipes. How perfect!

Continue reading “Scallopini Sunday Supper”

Start Sunday Supper on Saturday Night

While I’ve been planning to share one of Hubby’s favorite dishes, I realized I needed to share it on a Saturday for a Sunday Supper. The roast needs to refrigerate overnight for the seasonings to truly blossom, and it takes all day to cook. Hence a Sunday Supper posting on a Saturday Share.

Continue reading “Start Sunday Supper on Saturday Night”

Slow-Roasted Sunday Chicken with Vegetables

Aren’t crock pots and slow-cookers amazing? Great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the house. Awesome in the winter when you want a delicious meal that is ready when you are.

Continue reading “Slow-Roasted Sunday Chicken with Vegetables”

Sunday Roasted Herb Chicken and Potatoes

Thank goodness, it’s Sunday. Sunday in the fall can only mean one thing – roast chicken! Golden, beautiful and just screaming of childhood memories. Many a Sunday we came home from Mass and sat down to a late afternoon supper of roasted chicken. The house was warm and filled with family. Cousins, aunts and uncles. People we weren’t really related to but called family anyway.

Continue reading “Sunday Roasted Herb Chicken and Potatoes”

Southwestern Roast Chicken to Spice Up Sundays

Hello beautiful Sunday. Today is the beginning of yet another wonderful week. What’s that you say? What makes this so great? We are alive! Every day is an opportunity to love and be loved. To show kindness and make a difference. Isn’t that reason enough to rejoice?

Continue reading “Southwestern Roast Chicken to Spice Up Sundays”

Garlic Herb Butter Roasted Chicken

Happy Sunday Morning everyone! I love it when the Good Lord sees fit to bless me with another day. It’s important to remember to count your blessings, big and small. Just waking up in the morning is a blessing all its own.

Continue reading “Garlic Herb Butter Roasted Chicken”

Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary

A true Cornish Game Hen is a young female Cornish chicken about 5 weeks of age, weighing around 2 pounds. These hens are a large-breasted breed of English birds. No longer raised for commercial purposes, true Cornish chickens are raised by backyard enthusiasts and small specialty farms. These are poor egg-layers, bred strictly for their meat. True Cornish chickens are slow to mature, making them undesirable for commercial farms. The hens sold in the markets today are actually a cross between a Cornish and a Plymouth Rock chicken. They are rapid growers, with less feed costs to reach maturity. Due to their rapid growth, Rock Cornish hens are prone to health problems such as heart attacks and skeletal deformities. Sad but true. The birds sold in the grocery stores weight between 2 to 5 pounds. They may or may not be a hen, as young males are also sold as Rock Cornish Game hens. Game Hens are attractive on the table, lending an air of grace and sophistication.  I love game hens for special Sunday suppers or whenever I feel the need to give a little “fancy” to the table without necessarily doing a ton of extra work.

Growing up, Sundays and some sort of chicken dish just naturally go hand in hand. In the summer it was often fried chicken served outdoors with fresh corn from the garden and a big slice of watermelon. In the fall, roast chicken seemed to fill that Sunday Chicken need. The only chicken I knew growing up were big, fat birds that looked more like small turkeys.  Big was always better. Sunday dinner wasn’t just Mom, Dad and their four offspring. It was our cousins who lived around the corner, an Aunt and her son from down the street, and extended good friends who sometimes wandered by after mass. Even after I moved out on my own, coming home for Sunday dinner was expected. It wasn’t until Hubby and I moved to another state that we began having our own Sunday traditions. It wasn’t until then that I discovered the special beauty of Rock Cornish Hens. While we don’t do fancy Sunday dinners every week, I like to make it a point to do a little something special one Sunday a month. This is one of my favorites.

Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary
2 Game hens,1 1/2 lbs each, giblets removed
1/2 lemon, cut into 2 wedges
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
Additional rosemary sprigs

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse hens under cold water. Pat hens dry with paper towels.

Season cavities lightly with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 rosemary sprig in the cavity of each hen. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon oil. Season outside of hens lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange in heavy large roasting pan. Scatter garlic around hens.

Roast hens 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour wine, broth and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over hens. Continue roasting until hens are golden brown and juices run clear when thigh is pierced at thickest part, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices, about 25 minutes longer.

Transfer hens to platter, pouring any juices from cavity into roasting pan. Tent hens with foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic to heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 6 minutes.

To serve, split each hen in half lengthwise. Arrange on a dinner plate with a wedge of lemon. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs and serve.

Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy

Have you ever had a craving for something old? Something that once was a part of Americana – especially on Sundays in the summer? I can remember my mother frying up chicken in a big black skillet. The sounds of the skin sizzling in hot grease – the wonderful smells floating through the kitchen. I can see my parents so clearly in my mind’s eye – Dad swinging a meat cleaver, cutting up a big, plump broiler chicken for Mom to fry up. We always had our fried chicken with biscuits that Dad made from scratch and fresh corn that we picked that day from the small patch of corn growing out back.

I hadn’t made fried chicken in years. Oh sure, “oven-fried” is one thing, but it’s not the big-skillet-real-deal fried chicken of my simple country childhood. And I wanted some of that. I wanted the chicken I remember as a child, only this time without the bones. For one thing, Kiddo won’t eat chicken that is cooked with the bones. I guess that’s because he’s grown up eating the boneless, skinless variety of chicken that is “healthier”. With a good, double-coating of breading, you can almost achieve that outer “crunch” of the skin-on fried chicken. And that’s what we are really after – that bite into a crisp fried chicken with a tender, moist piece of meat. Yeah, that’s the good stuff!

Fried Chicken and Sunday Suppers go hand-in-hand all year round. Served up with some mashed potatoes and fresh-canned green beans. My oh my – my mouth is watering!

Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy
Ingredients – Chicken
10 Boneless Chicken Thighs (or 5 boneless Breasts)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup Crushed Ritz Crackers (finely crushed)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil for Frying

Open thighs flat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Note: If using breasts, cut in half width wise for faster cooking)

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper in a pie pan. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs in another pie pan.

Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again. Place chicken pieced on a wire rack and let sit for the breading to adhere to the chicken.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Heat oil over medium high heat (more on the high side). Once the oil is hot, fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. (If chicken begins to burn, adjust temperature).

Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225-degree oven.

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet.

Ingredients – Pan Gravy
1/3 cup flour
2 – 3 tablespoons pan drippings
3 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Granules

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet. Add 1/3 cup flour to the skillet with the drippings. Cook over medium high heat.

Using a whisk mix the flour into the drippings until it starts to brown, creating a roux. If the roux looks to oily and runny you can add another tablespoon or so of flour and mix again. Whisk constantly until the paste becomes nice and brown.

Slowly add the milk whisking constantly and blending the liquid with the flour mixture until combined. Add seasoning.

Let the gravy come to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens up. If the mixture thickens too much add more milk as needed until the gravy is the consistency that you want. This could end up being more than the required 3 cups.

Taste and generously season again with salt and pepper as needed.

One-Dish Chicken Supper with Potatoes and Gravy

After Brother Dear’s passing in December 2014, his best friend from childhood created a group on Face Book for those of us that shared the same childhood memories, experiences and “rearing”. We all grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools (for the most part) and shared the same childhood. I had always thought much of what I remembered about my childhood was viewed through Rose-colored glasses, and not necessarily the way it was. That is until this group began to share their memories. Now I realize there can be only two explanations – either we are all wearing the same Rose-Colored glasses or we had a wonderful childhood. I’d rather think it is the latter – that we truly had a magical childhood – one that allowed us to be children.

You know the childhood I’m talking about – children played outside until dark. The rule was, when the street lights came on, it was time to run along home. No one locked their doors at night. We shared the same key for our roller skates and drank out of the garden hose. If you wanted to know where your friends were hanging out, you simply looked for the bikes piled up in someone’s front yard. old bikes 1(And we aren’t talking about bikes that were chained up to a light post for fear someone would steal them.) We played in the sprinklers, had our favorite fishing holes, knew how to skip rocks and could bait our own hooks (or get a boy to do it for us). We wished upon stars and believed our wishes would one day come true. Life was children-at-mass 2good. Life was simple.

Growing up, Sundays were always special. It was a time for the family to gather – cousins, uncles and aunts. Sundays started with church. After mass, Sunday supper was served earlier in the day. The day moved unhurried. Sunday supper was a time for families to gather and enjoy a meal together, usually consisted of chicken – be it roasted or fried.  We didn’t get big buckets from the Colonial – Dad broke out his favorite, well-seasoned cast iron skillet and fried up the chicken. A big pot of potatoes was mashed and in the summer there was always fresh corn. I’m not sure which I loved more, the mashed potatoes or Dad’s buttermilk biscuits (from scratch). And Dad made the best gravy on the planet. I put it on everything.

Sunday dinner meant a properly set table. While the menfolk removed their jackets, a white shirt and tie was usually worn. After all, we had come from Mass – everyone was in their “Sunday Best”. Saturdays were reserved for T-shirts and jeans. Sundays were special, magical times.

When my children were small, I did my best to keep Sundays special. We went “home” for dinner – but then life began to change. Today has become too hectic with long hours at the office. It takes two paychecks to make ends meet.  And Saturdays are gobble up with errands and household chores, leaving Sundays for lazy “recovery” – recharging the batteries emotionally and physically before facing yet another stressful week.

I say it’s time to take back Sunday! Okay, maybe not every Sunday – but at least one Sunday a month can be set aside for a proper supper, and family time well spent.

One-Dish Chicken Supper with Potatoes and Gravy
1 Roasting Chicken, about 4 lbs
1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt, divided
¾ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper, divided
6 Oregano Sprigs
1 Lemon, quartered
1 Celery Stock, cut into 2-inch pieces
Cooking Spray
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
2-3 Medium-size Yellow Onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
2 lbs Small Red Potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges*
¼ Cup Flour
Chicken Stock or broth, about 2 cups
Lemon Wedges and Oregano Sprigs for garnish (optional)

Peel and cut onions, set aside.

Quarter 1 lemon. Cut 1 lemon quarter in half again. Set aside.

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Staring at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Combine ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper; rub under loosened skin, over breasts and drumsticks.

Preheat oven to 425-Degrees. Place 4 oregano sprigs, 3 quartered lemon and celery pieces into body cavity. Place 2 spring of oregano on breast meat under the skin. Tuck remaining lemon under skin at thigh joint. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

Melt butter. Cut potatoes into wedges. Combine ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, melted butter, onions and potatoes in a large bowl. Toss well to coat. Arrange onion mixture around chicken on rack. Place rack in broiler pan.

Bake at 425-degrees for 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees WITHOUT opening oven. Bake an additional 1 hour or until onions and potatoes are tender and chicken thighs register 165-degrees. Set chicken, onions and potatoes aside; cover and keep warm.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes for fat to rise to top of bag.

Seal bag; CAREFULLY snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a measuring cup, stopping before fat layer reaches opening. Discard fat. Add stock or broth to pan drippings to measure 1 1/2 cups total. Pour into saucepan and gently heat.

Combine remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, flour and ½ cup chicken broth in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to liquid in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until gravy thickens, stirring frequently with whisk.

Carve chicken; serve with gravy and potato-onion mixture. Garnish with lemon wedges and oregano sprigs, if desired.

* If using very small potatoes, cut potatoes in half rather than wedges. For additional color, look for a variety of small potatoes – purple, red and white are always nice.

 

Apple Stuffed Roast Chicken

Growing up, there were many things I remember that were “tradition” – something we just did, although I never knew why. Eating roasted chicken on Sundays was one such tradition. Unlike meals during the week, the big meal on Sundays was served earlier in the day, usually around two or three in the afternoon. Growing up in a big extended family, it was not unusual for cousins, uncles and aunts to gather together for Sunday dinner. Sundays were special. And so were roasted chickens.

When I had a family of my own, the tradition of roasted chicken on Sundays continued. It was how I was raised, and it was just something I did without giving the custom much thought. To me, Sundays meant family dinners and family dinners meant roasted chicken. No questions asked. Eventually, Sunday dinner, while still “special” expanded beyond the scope of a roasted chicken. We still enjoy a “traditional” Sunday supper every now and again. And this apple stuffed chicken for a Sunday Supper is really special.

Curious, I did a little research into the tradition of The Sunday Roast. Traditionally speaking, roasted beef was the meat of choice in 17th century England, particularly in Yorkshire – said to be the birthplace of The Sunday Roast. Sunday Roast was also a tradition observed in Ireland and eventually expanded throughout Europe. It is believed that both religious practices and the industrial revolution were key factors in the birth of The Sunday Roast.

Families often worked six days a week, with Sundays held as a day of rest. A big rack of meat could be put into the oven on Sunday mornings, and then allowed to slow cook while the family attended church services. After church, the meal was nearly complete. The women-folk would add a few vegetables, mash a pot of boiled potatoes and whip up a gravy made from the pan drippings before joining their families for a day of leisure. Generally, more meat was roasted than could be consumed on Sunday, and the cold meat became lunch for the better part of the following week. Remember, before the invention of fast-food joints and microwaves, people packed a lunch for work and school.

While I cannot speak for all faiths, for Catholics Eucharistic fasting is part of the preparation before attending Sunday Mass. It is meant to help Catholics prepare themselves for the privilege of receiving Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity during communion. The Eucharistic Fast is a discipline, and not a doctrine of the Church. As a discipline, the guidelines can change over time, and in some cases be done away with altogether. Way back when, the Eucharistic Fast began at sundown on Saturday (perhaps as a part of the Jewish roots of Catholicism where new days began at sundown). Eventually this fast was changed to midnight, and over the years the length of the fast has been reduced. Today Catholics fast an hour before Mass. When you consider the fast of old, it makes sense for people to want a big meal ready upon returning from Mass. You were hungry!

My father is a child of the depression era who grew up in a rural setting. Chickens were something people raised themselves, so a roasted chicken on Sundays made economic sense. I was a child of pre Vatican II, when a fast was more strictly observed and there was no breakfast on Sundays. We were starving upon our return from Mass. So now I know and understand the origins of my family’s Sunday dinner. I’m not sure if it makes the roasted chicken taste any better, but there is a greater sense of richness and connection to the past when I take my place at the Sunday Dinner Table.

I know, I’m rambling – just stick with me a little longer – I promise a wonderful recipe at the end. Years ago, a coworker gave everyone a huge box of apples for the holidays. I made caramel apples, apple pies, apple crepes, apple sauce and still there were apples. One Sunday afternoon, while preparing my birds for roasting, I got to thinking – what if I stuffed the birds with apples? The meat would be moist and flavorful. The house would have a wonderful Autumn scent. It seemed the right thing to do. And so it was that my Apple Stuffed Roasted Chicken came to be a family favorite. (This recipe works nicely with pears as well).

Apple Stuffed Roast Chicken
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
2 teaspoons Mesquite Seasoning
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
1 Roasting chicken, rinsed, dried and giblets removed
1-2 apples, sliced

Remove chicken from the refrigerator, remove giblets from cavity and excess fat from cavity opening. Rinse well under cold water, blot dry with paper towels and allow chicken to continue to air dry for about an hour.

In a small bowl, add butter and seasonings. Set aside.

Cut apples into chunks, set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a V-rack, opened to its widest point, into a shallow roasting pan. Set aside.

Season cavity of chicken with salt. Using hands, gently separate the skin from the meat of the chicken around the breast, the legs and down into the thighs. Gently rub seasoned butter directly over chicken meat beneath the skin, taking care not to tear the skin. Wipe skin well with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, rub into skin to help absorb any excess exterior moisture.

Place sliced apples into cavity of chicken. Tie legs together and tuck wings under breast. Place chicken in roasting pan breast side up.

Bake uncovered in preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until skin is nicely browned.

Remove chicken from oven, turn breast side down and continue to roast for about 10-15 minutes longer or until skin is nicely browned.

Reduce temperature to 425 degrees, cover and continue cooking for about 1 hour or so longer, until juices run clear. (Warning – the skin will be nicely browned, but covering the bird will not produce a crisp skin. If crisp skin in your thing, reduce heat and leave the chicken uncovered. Take care that the meat doesn’t dry out too much, especially the breast meat).

Remove chicken from oven, place on serving platter and tent chicken to keep warm, allowing chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove apples and carve. I like to see the chicken carved at the table. 

Serving up Sunday Supper on a Saturday Night with an Apricot Glazed Ham

Christmas is coming. Okay, so it’s a few months away, but it is coming none the less. Time to test a few new recipes for the Christmas Table. One thing I know for sure – Christmas will include a ham. In our house, it simply would not be Christmas without a ham.

It seems to me that more often than not, when I’m serving up a ham I tend to stick to the “traditional” glazed ham I know so well. You know the one – with pineapple ring and cherries held into place with whole cloves – such a delicious throw-back to childhood memories. I can almost smell my parent’s kitchen at the holidays, be it Christmas or Easter. That distinct aroma of cloves was undeniable. Our house was always bursting at the seams with cousins, uncles, aunts and assorted “adopted” family for holiday meals. On average, there were at least ten to twelve children – little staggered stepping-stones – twice as many children as adults.

The grownups naturally gravitated to the kitchen, cup of coffee in hand, taking up their respective places at the holiday table. For whatever reason, to my ears they all seemed to be chattering at once – the men in English, the women in a mixture of Spanish, English and Tagalog. Everyone was dressed up in their Holiday best, having just come from Mass.

Upon our return from Mass Dad, with a kitchen towel draped over his left shoulder, heads straight for the oven to check on his ham. The ham always seemed to take forever to reach that perfect doneness when the meat was cooked through, all smokey and flavorful, and the fat curled up nice and crisp. Just when it was that Dad popped his ham into a slow oven is beyond me. All I knew with any certainty is that it made its way into the oven sometime between Santa’s visit and our departure for Saint Paul’s to attend Mass. Satisfied that all is well, Dad would pour himself a cup of coffee and joins the others at the table.

Holiday meals were so special. Christmas Dinner was one of three “special” occasions when real butter would be at the table, along with hot dinner rolls and a big bowl of black olives – perfect for sticking onto the ends of our fingers. (Is there any other way to eat black olives?)

Yeah, we’ll be having ham for Christmas, even if I do decide to serve it along side a Christmas Goose. Some traditions will never die. These days it’s not a matter of “if” a ham will be served but more a question of how the ham is prepared. Recipes need to be tested – and in my book that’s as good an excuse as any to serve up a Sunday Ham Supper on a Saturday evening . . .

Apricot Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
1 (8-10 pound) smoked picnic ham (bone-in)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the ham cut side down onto a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side up. With a sharp knife, score the ham to allow glaze to seep into the meat.

Mix together the brown sugar, apricot jam and mustard powder in a small bowl. Pop mixture into the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften and make it more spreadable.

Brush onto the ham using a pastry or barbecue brush. Be sure to brush cut side as well. The ham should be well-coated with about half of the glaze mixture. Reserve remaining glaze for later. Enclose the foil around the ham and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes per pound.

About 20 minutes before the ham is done, apply all the remaining glaze. Roll foil down, exposing the ham so that glaze with thicken, and any skin or fat will brown nicely. (Note: If glaze has thickened simply zap in microwave for about 30 seconds).

************

Hold the presses! Dinner was unbelievable! This recipe produced the most tender, flavorful, moist ham I have ever eaten. I don’t know if cooking the ham in my roasting oven rather than the big oven made any difference. I know I have a few more recipes to try . . . yet I have to admit, this was delicious!

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.

I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel – brings back such memories. Such a haunting melody. Scarborough is a small coastal town in England, and Scarborough Fair was a popular Medieval gathering held in mid-August that lasted 45 days. The song itself actually dates back to Medieval times (a little fact I did not realize). I remember when “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was the popular song of the day. My cousin had it played at her wedding. It was the first wedding we (my siblings and I) were actually able to attend. I think Mom and Dad felt we would be okay at a “hippie” wedding set in a park. (As dad put it a gathering of long-haired, barefooted college kids). It’s not that we would have misbehaved, it’s that in general traditional church weddings would have bored the pants off even the best behaved children. On the ride home, my youngest sister questioned why we had not attending a wedding before since weddings were so much fun! What does all this have to do with roasted chicken? Nothing, except the title of the recipe, Simon and Garfunkel music and my thoughts wandering about.

galleryscarboroughaerialshot2-348x264
Scarborough Castle

Wouldn’t it be fun to serve up this beautiful chicken in a casual setting, with Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background? I can envision sitting down to a table with bottles of wine, baskets of warm bread and beautiful grilled vegetable platters surrounding this beautiful herb infused chicken. Good company, good food and good conversation. Now that’s what I call a party!

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Roasted Chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (5-to 6-pound) Roasting Chicken
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, season with salt and pepper. Using your hand, gently separate skin from chicken. Rub seasoning mixture under skin and inside cavity, reserving some for the outside.

Place the herb-rubbed chicken onto a rack over a roasting pan. Pour a little Olive oil over the chicken, rub the remaining herb mixture into the oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and place chicken in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove aluminum foil and roast the chicken an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until no pink remains and juices run clear.

Remove from oven, tent to keep warm and let rest for about 10 minutes. Split chicken in half, transfer to large serving platter and garnish platter as desired with additional fresh herb sprigs.

Cheers!

Chicken Francese – An American Dish

If it’s Sunday, it must be chicken . . . Growing up, Sunday Supper usually meant chicken – be it roasted, barbecued, or fried (especially in the summer months), you could bet chicken was on the menu. My parents weren’t “fancy” cooks – home-cooked meals were usually simple. With a house full of children (siblings, cousins and a multitude of extended family), the meals were always “kid friendly”. For us, Sundays involved attending church, then everyone would gather at our house for an early supper. As a cradle Catholic of the pre-Vatican II era, we didn’t eat before Mass, so supper needed to be as early as possible since everyone was starving. Often, we didn’t arrive at Church until late in the morning or early afternoon. I can’t blame my parents for attending a later Mass. You try herding a bunch of kids out the door in their Sunday best at 7:00 am and see how far you get.

As an adult, I strive to keep the Sunday Chicken tradition alive. Traditions are an important part of my life. They keep me grounded and in touch with my roots.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who loves to plan. I plan menus – sometimes weeks in advance. While we don’t always stick to the plan, having some idea as to what I plan to cook sure makes shopping a whole lot easier.

While preparing my meal planner for the upcoming weeks, I came across a recipe I had not yet tried; Chicken Francese. As a house filled with lovers of chicken cooked in a lemony-buttery sauce, this simple yet elegant dish seemed right up our alley. I wasn’t sure if the origins of this dish were French (as the name seems to suggest – Francese means “in the French manner”) or Northern Italian as the clean simple ingredients seems to indicate. Naturally, I turned to the internet in search of answers. While there has been some debate on the subject, it turns out neither is correct. Chicken Francese is a native of New York – as in Brooklyn, New York. The first documented mention of Chicken Francese appeared in a restaurant review published in the New York Times back in the 1970s. Prior to that publication, the dish simply did not exist in print. There are those who insist the dish is actually older by some twenty years, at least on a local level in Brooklyn. As the story goes, back in the 1950s the Italian eateries of Brooklyn were loosing patrons to their French bistro counterparts as the lighter, buttery sauces of France gained popularity with the masses. To lure customers back, a buttery-lemon sauce was created to be served over fried chicken cutlets. At least that’s how the story goes. So while the creator of the dish may have been Italian, the dish itself was born in America. Another less intriguing reason this dish is considered “American” is because the chicken is floured, dipped in egg and then pan-fried – all American traits in the culinary world. Some argue that all of this “history” very well may be true for the “Chicken” variety, but that the dish itself was actually inspiration by a dish deeply rooted in Northern Italy, made with breaded veal. Call it whatever you like, so long as you call it delicious.

Chicken Francese
3 Chicken Breasts, split lengthwise
1 cup all-purpose flour; for dredging
1 or 2 pinches of garlic powder
1 or 2 sprinklings of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup olive oil

Lay chicken breast on a cutting board and split breasts lengthwise to create two thin breasts. Set aside until ready to use.

In a shallow platter, season 1/2 cup of flour with paprika, garlic powder, pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk well to distribute seasoning evenly.

In a wide, flat-bottom bowl or small casserole dish, whisk eggs with water to create an egg-wash.

Heat a large, flat-bottom pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add 1/4 cup of olive oil and swirl to coat pan. When the oil is hot, dredge chicken cutlet one at a time in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg wash coating completely, letting the excess drip off. Dredge one final time to give a nice battered coating to the chicken. Dredge, dip and dredge only enough chicken that will fit into the pan without over crowding it. Work in batches if necessary.

Fry cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown turning once. Move chicken to a serving platter large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Place platter into a warm oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

Buttery-Lemon Sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Lemons (for juicing)
3 tablespoons butter
1 Splash White Wine (slightly less than 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons Wondra (to thicken sauce)

Once all the chicken has been fried, carefully blot pan with paper towels to remove excess oil white leaving the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Pour chicken broth into the empty pan, bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until broth is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes or so. Scrape bottom of the pan to bring browned bits into the broth.

Add lemon juice and return to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Add a splash or so of wine, whisk again.

Thicken sauce with about a tablespoon or so of Wondra, stir/whisk until thickened and smooth.

Remove pan from heat, return chicken to pan. Turn chicken to coat in sauce.

For Serving
1/2 lb Spaghetti Pasta
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Lemon
2-3 Tablespoons Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Start pasta at the same time as the chicken cutlets are added to the pan to fry. Cook pasta al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain pasta well. While pasta is draining, add butter to the pot used to cook pasta. Return pasta to the pot and pull through butter to coat.

To serve; spread pasta out on serving platter. Lay chicken on top of pasta and pour pan sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon as desired. Serve immediately.

Tips: Fill large pot with water for pasta and bring to a boil. As water heats, season flour, prepare egg wash and juice lemons. Once skillet is heated for cutlets, begin cooking pasta. While cutlets are frying, chop parsley and slice lemon for garnish. Everything should come together at the same time for serving.