Category Archives: Meat

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken

This is the best roast chicken I’ve ever made. The three essentials for a good roast chicken recipe include crispy skin and perfectly cooked breasts and thighs. It’s usually difficult to achieve all three at the same time because the thighs usually take longer to cook. Using a cast iron skillet and starting the roasting at a very high temperature help to achieve all three. Cast iron gets very hot and distributes heat evenly so the part of the chicken (the thighs) that is touching the pan cooks more quickly than the part thats not touching the pan directly (the breasts) which is what you want so that they are done cooking at about the same time.

I let the chicken come to room temperature before I seasoned the skin with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter. Putting the chicken in the oven when it’s already at room temperature will help it cook more evenly. If you have time, you can also leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a day which will help dry out the skin and make it even more crispy when you roast it. It’s not necessary for a weeknight dinner situation but it’s something that’s good to remember once Thanksgiving comes around when you’re roasting a turkey.

To make this a one-pot meal, I like to add potatoes, onions, carrots and celery to the pan. They’ll cook in about the same time as the chicken and also absorb the butter, seasoning and chicken juices. Having just one pan to wash doesn’t hurt.
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Chili is a great one-pot meal. It’s a great way to feed a crowd. It’s also a great dish to make on Sunday and eat through the week. During the hurricane we had here in the Northeast, I cooked a lot. Chili was a great dinner on the nights we had to walk to and from work that week when we needed nourishment from the long walks and bitter cold.

The weather here in New York has turned from pleasantly brisk to frigid; requiring ear muffs and gloves rather than just making sure you’re wearing your flats and not your flip-flops. It’s nice to come home to a warm and spicy meal that can be heated up in the microwave.

I like to add lots of toppings when I make chili. My favorites are cheddar, sour cream, cilantro and tortilla chips or cornbread.
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Roast Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

I love garlic. When roasted, the flavor becomes mild and creamy and less harsh than when it’s raw. This recipes really highlights the buttery quality of the garlic and makes it a great dish served with some crusty bread.

This is a classic recipe that many, many cooks have made their own. This is my version. I use the thighs and legs because they have more flavor than the breast and also because they cook more evenly than if I were using white and dark meat. I also find it tastier than roasting a whole chicken because it absorbs the flavor of the sauce while it’s cooking. While the classic recipe calls for 40 cloves of garlic (obviously!), I usually try to use as many as I can stand to peel. Here is a great video from Saveur for “How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds.”
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Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Parmesan Sauce

This is a really simple meal that takes about the time to prepare as it does for the water to boil. It’s also extremely satisfying and comforting. The only thing that takes time is the caramelized onions but you can prepare those days in advance. I happened to have some leftover from another meal and threw them in at the last minute. You could easily omit them and still have a delicious dinner. I like to use whole wheat spaghetti because it’s a little heartier and because it’s so thin, it doesn’t taste gummy or chewy like some other whole wheat pastas. The sauce basically consists of pasta water, cheese and a minimal amount of cream. The key to making the sauce is to add some of the pasta water to the pan. As the pasta cooks, it releases starch which you’ll want to bind your sauce.
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Braised Rabbit Leg

Braising is a long, slow cooking technique, perfect for a cold winter day when you don’t mind having the oven on for a couple hours to warm up your kitchen. It’s also a great way to make a sauce without having to go to a lot of extra effort. For this recipe, I used rabbit but it could easily be substituted with chicken or something more readily available at the grocery store. I served it with a bulgar/lentil salad and some mushrooms. A perfect winter dish.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I went to my parents house for Christmas and while I was there, I made brussels sprouts for dinner one night. They were all skeptical, thinking they would be bitter and tough but thankfully they all changed their minds with this recipe. Brussels sprouts are delicious and when cooked properly, are soft and tender. The key is to cut them in half, place them face down in the pan with oil to caramelize the centers. If they’re not fully cooked by the time the centers are caramelized, you can finish them in the oven until they’re soft.

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Seared Lamb Chops, Crispy Polenta

Every few weeks, some friends and I get together for small dinner parties where we each made a dish. The quality of food is pretty great and I’m always eager to impress. On the menu this night were empanadas, scallops, pork belly and lamb. I can take credit for only the lamb, but they were all pretty exceptional. Click below for the recipe for my lamb dish.

Flambe-ing the scallops by adding alcohol. The alcohol cooks off, creating some flames, but still adds flavor.

Sauteed Zucchini and Eggplant. I used the vegetables that I still had from apple picking the week before and the contrast in colors looked really nice on the plate.

Seared scallops after the flambe process.

These toasted pistachios were the garnish for the lamb dish.

Final plate for the pork belly dish with heirloom beans, brussel sprouts and compressed apples.

Final plate for the scallop dish with brussel sprouts, crispy proscuitto and hazelnuts.
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