Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsIt has come to my attention that a shocking amount of my friends and acquaintances have never attempted to roast a chicken. In fact, some have admitted to being terrified of the process. Not intimidated. Terrified.

Y’all, that’s sort of ridiculous. If you fall into this category, let me be the one to tell you that roast chicken is one of the easiest things in the world to make.

It’s chicken, not rocket science.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsHere’s everything you’ll need to make a quality roast chicken: salt and pepper, olive oil, garlic, rosemary (or thyme), a lemon, a lot of onions, and a whole chicken.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsFirst things first—slice up the onions and layer them in the pan. You want at least two layers of thick onion slices.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsDry off your chicken with paper towels and lay it on that bed of onions. You want it breast-side up, meaning that the neck and tail will be down. Grease the inside and outside of your bird with olive oil and give it a good massage with salt and pepper.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsTuck the wingtips under the breast. This helps the chicken to cook more as a cohesive unit and keeps the wings from drying out. They may move as they cook—that’s okay.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsStuff the lemon, garlic, and rosemary (or thyme) in the cavity, and slide the chicken into a 475F oven. Yes, 475F. This initial burst of high heat helps the skin turn golden. As the cooking time moves on, the heat will be turned down to 450F and finally 400F. This keeps the chicken from burning or drying out throughout the long roasting time.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsWhen you finally remove the chicken from the oven, it’ll be golden and beautiful. When I roast chickens, I nearly always get comments on how aesthetically pleasing they look.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsBut who cares about looks—it’s all about flavor! And this chicken has plenty of it. The skin is crispy, the meat is moist, and everything is well seasoned.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsAnd that’s to say nothing of the soft roasted onions that are coated in rendered chicken fat (aka schmaltz). Seriously, if you’ve never tasted a sweet onion that’s been cooked in chicken fat, you’ve been deprived.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsBetter make up for lost time.Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions
makes one 5 pound chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-3 pounds sweet onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 1/2-2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 5-5.5 pound raw whole chicken, giblets removed
1 lemon, sliced in half equatorially
1 small-medium head of garlic, sliced in half equatorially
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 10 sprigs fresh thyme

***Make sure your oven is fairly clean before starting. The high heat in this recipe can cause smoke if there is any significant grime on the walls or floor of your oven.***

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 475F.

Grease the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole dish (or other large high-sided pan) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with layers of onion slices. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together salt and pepper.

Use paper towels to blot chicken to remove excess moisture—make sure to do this inside the cavity, too. Place chicken, breast-side up, on the bed of onions.

Coat chicken inside-and-out with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Massage salt and pepper onto chicken, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic, and rosemary (or thyme).

Put pan in the oven. Roast for 90 minutes, reducing the heat to 450F at the 30 minute mark and 400F at the 60 minute mark.

Chicken is done when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching bone) reads 165F. Juices should run clear.

Remove chicken from oven and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Uncover pan. Lift chicken and pour any excess liquid from the cavity. Place chicken on a cutting board and remove lemon halves, garlic, and thyme/rosemary. Carve chicken (here’s a tutorial).

Use tongs or a wooden spoon to stir onions together with rendered chicken fat (aka schmaltz). Serve chicken and onions together, spooning schmaltz over the top as desired.

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-Up

The Super Bowl is coming up in just over a week and…

Well, to be honest, football just isn’t my thing. But Justin Timberlake and game day food are definitely my things. If it’s salty, crunchy, cheesy, made with Frank’s Red Hot, or is basically just a giant cookie, I. am. in.

The archives are loaded with big game-worthy recipes, but I’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of my favorites to give you a little Super Bowl party inspiration!

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpGuacamole
I have never once brought guacamole to a party and gone home with leftovers. Not once. I make damn good guacamole, y’all. I don’t have some magical secret ingredient or any crazy methods—just buy good, ripe avocados and taste, taste, taste. Follow the recipe, adjust for salt and lime, and use sturdy chips. I promise you won’t have any leftovers.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpChorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}
Cornbread is pretty perfect all on its own, but I love this version. Slightly sweet and studded with salty chorizo, this cornbread makes an excellent soup side. And speaking of chorizo…

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBeef & Chorizo Chili
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Super Bowl party that didn’t have some sort of chili on the menu. This Beef & Chorizo version was a happy accident that became a favorite 🙂

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBuffalo Chicken Biscuits
Buffalo chicken is a game day classic! Instead of making traditional wings, shred it up and serve it on cream biscuits—everyone loves sliders! Don’t forget the bleu cheese and celery sticks 🙂

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpCaramelized Mushroom Tostadas
Who could say no to crispy tostadas loaded with sweet & earthy caramelized mushrooms, quick-pickled red onion, a swipe of guacamole, and salty cotija cheese?! This combination of textures and flavors is guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike 🙂 Need them to be vegan? Just skip the cheese.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpUltimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
If you’re into chocolate and peanut butter, this is the dessert for you! These cocoa brownies are topped with a layer of peanut butter cream and studded with miniature peanut butter cups, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, and peanuts—so freaking good.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
As Julia Child once said “A party without cake is just a meeting.” I’m not sure that a Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is exactly what she had in mind, but it fits the bill on Super Bowl Sunday! This simple dessert is easier than making a batch of cookies and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Friday Favorites: Game Day Round-UpWill you be serving any of these dishes next Sunday? Let me know on Instagram!

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerOn any other day, I would probably go on and on about how how I prefer my chocolate desserts to be all chocolate and my fruit desserts to be just fruit, but for right now, I must say otherwise. And even if I were feeling that way this particular Wednesday, I’d be hard-pressed to get the words out, what with shoveling bites of warm Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger into my face.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerAs far as late-January desserts go, this is about as good as it gets. I mean, when it comes to warm, soft pieces of pear, bits of melty chocolate and crunchy oat topping with two kinds of ginger, what’s not to love?!

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerBeyond being delicious, this crisp is wonderfully easy to make. If you are at all intimidated by making pie from scratch, this is the dessert for you. There’s no finicky dough or chilling or crimping, and definitely no lengthy cooling time. In fact, the whole process of making a crisp takes one hour, as opposed to the three or four (or more!) that it takes to make and cool a fruit pie.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerTo start, pears are peeled, diced, and tossed with sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, and lemon.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerChocolate chips are scattered over the top.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerThe crisp topping is made from oats, flour, light brown sugar, chopped almonds, and both ground and candied ginger. Oh, and butter.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerScatter the topping over the fruit, being careful to cover most of the chocolate. This will keep it from overcooking.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerBake the crisp for half an hour and let it cool for ten minutes.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerWhile it’s warm, scoop it into bowls and top it with vanilla ice cream. The recipe says this addition is only “if desired,” but I like to think of it as mandatory.Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

It really should be.Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger
makes one 8-inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
4 medium firm-ripe Bosc pears
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons candied ginger, minced
3 tablespoons chopped raw almonds (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch casserole dish with butter. Set aside.

Peel and core pears. Cut them into 1-inch chunks and place in a medium-large mixing bowl. add sugar, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and scatter chocolate chips over the top.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, light brown sugar, ground ginger, salt, minced candies ginger, and chopped raw almonds. Stir together with a fork. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form. Scatter topping onto the pears and chocolate.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and pears are tender. Tent with foil if anything browns too quickly.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers, reheating before serving.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}I repeat recipes so infrequently that this is only the third time I’ve made this Chorizo Cornbread since discovering it three years ago. It came to be during a late-January snowstorm that was billed as the storm of the century (as all of them are), but was wholly unremarkable.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Except for the cornbread. That part was pretty memorable. Especially the near-perfect breakfast sandwich I made with the leftovers.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Before we talk about leftovers or magnificent fried egg sandwiches, let’s talk about how good salty, savory chorizo is when it’s enveloped in a barely-sweet piece of cornbread. Because it’s really, really good.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}It’s easy too—this recipe takes just about an hour from the time you start browning the chorizo to the time you pull the finished cornbread from the oven. You won’t need a mixer or anything more than a bowl and a silicone spatula either 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Start by browning eight ounces of raw chorizo and sautéing some diced onion and minced garlic in the rendered fat.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Mix together some yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I don’t usually add sugar to my cornbread, but I like the way it balances the salty chorizo here.

You may also notice a complete lack of flour, making this recipe gluten-free 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Toss the chorizo, onion, and garlic with the dry ingredients. This allows some of the baking powder to adhere to the meat and keeps it from sinking to the bottom of the finished cornbread.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Add some milk, sour cream, and eggs…

…followed by some melted butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Spread it all into a parchment-lined pan…

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}…and bake until browned and a little, uh, dimply.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Slice it into pieces while it’s still warm. I like my Chorizo Cornbread served alongside a kale salad or with a vegetable soup or even just by itself, with or without a pat of butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But like I said, the best way to enjoy this Chorizo Cornbread is to sandwich your slice with a runny egg.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}You can leave it simple (like I did) or jazz it up with cheese and greens and a big hit of sriracha. Either way, it’s basically the best egg sandwich ever.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Have a great weekend, y’all.Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread
inspired by and heavily adapted from Food52
makes one 9-inch pan

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
8 ounces raw chorizo,* removed from casings (use certified gluten-free chorizo for gluten-free cornbread)
1/2 large white onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk (not skim or non-fat), room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Brown chorizo, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once brown, use a spatula to transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Turn heat down to medium. Add onion and cook in the chorizo fat until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Combine milk, sour cream, and eggs in a measuring cup. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add chorizo, onion, and garlic, and toss to coat. Pour in milk mixture and fold together. Fold in butter. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and serve warm, with a runny egg, if desired.

Leftover cornbread will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

I find raw chorizo at Brooklyn Fare in Downtown Brooklyn. If you cannot find or don’t wish to use the raw stuff, I recommend dicing 8 ounces of fully-cooked, dried chorizo and letting it brown a bit in oil before proceeding as written. I haven’t tried it, but I think soy chorizo would work, too.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de PolloEverybody has a favorite chicken soup recipe—until very recently, the Chicken Noodle Soup in the archives was mine. I still love that soup (I feel less affection for those horrible photos), but now that I’ve started making this Sopa de Pollo, it’s going to have to settle for being my second favorite.

It seems harsh—pushing aside a recipe I’ve loved for years in favor one that I started making on a whim last fall—but my version of this Mexican chicken soup is so easy, healthy, and deeply delicious that I’m only sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

Sopa de PolloThis Sopa de Pollo is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. I saw her version a couple of years ago and then totally forgot about it until I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store a couple of months ago with no idea of what I wanted to make for the week. A quick Google search for Mexican-style chicken soup recipes led me back to Molly’s recipe, and now I’ve spent two months tweaking it and serving it as much as possible. Really. I’ve made it twice at my day job, once for my parents, another time for my little sister, and three more times just for me. I may or may not have a whole batch in the freezer right now. That may seem a little extreme for something I just started making a couple of months ago, but it’s just. that. good.

Sopa de Pollo

So, what makes this soup so outstanding? Well, for one, it only takes an hour start-to-finish. If that doesn’t have you putting ingredients on your grocery list, I don’t know what will. Speed isn’t everything though—let’s talk flavor.

Sopa de PolloSopa de Pollo

The broth here is flavored with a 1/2 bunch of whole cilantro sprigs and a handful of fresh mint leaves, in addition to the chicken and a good pinch of salt. The herbs soften and add incredible depth of flavor as they cook. There’s no need to remove them after cooking either, but you absolutely may if you’d like; just tie the herbs together with twine before you drop them into the pot, and lift them out with tongs when you’re done.

Sopa de Pollo

This Sopa de Pollo is chock full of vegetables, too. You’ll find big chunks of carrot, celery, onion, and zucchini in this soup, in addition to crushed whole garlic cloves and chayote. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild-flavored gourd that looks like this:

Sopa de Pollo

I find chayote at a regular supermarket, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, feel free to leave it out. My sisters would tell you to swap it for corn. For that matter, you can add or subtract any vegetables you want here—make the soup you want to eat, y’all!

Sopa de Pollo

Take my favorite and make it yours.Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de Pollo
lightly adapted from Orangette
makes about 6-8 servings

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 quarts chicken stock
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, diced large
2 medium zucchini, quartered, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 chayote, peeled, seed removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro
leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine chicken pieces and stock in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, chayote, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves. Once the soup returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat and use tongs to fish out chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and tear the meat into large pieces. Return meat to the pot. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Serve in shallow bowls. Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sopa de Pollo