After all the insane richness of my food consumption in NYC, the first thing I craved was down-to-earth goodness in the form of roasted chicken and root vegetables. Dennis nodded his head heartily at the mere mention and said, “I need something really simple and clean to eat.”
In other words, it was time for us to detox.
While gazing out the window in LaGuardia as they deiced the plane, I decided that a whole roaster hen was just the thing and something with sweet potatoes. Most definitely. Before the plane took off, we decided we would roast chicken breasts and thighs and began plotting multiple forms of roasted root vegetables to add to the mix.
From Charlotte, the delays kept us on our toes as we recalculated how late it was going to be when we arrived back at XNA. Ten o’clock. Eleven o’clock. One thing we did know for sure was that we were not going to attempt the ride home to Bella Vista because of the icy hilly roads. Instead, Dennis booked us a room at the Doubletree in Bentonville and pre-ordered a bottle of wine and chicken strips to greet us when we arrived.
The detox was going to have to wait until the next day.
It was worth the wait.
Perfectly Browned Roast Chicken
Serves 6-8 or serves 2 immediately and enough left over for several other meals
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist Cooks at Home
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¾ cup honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 chicken breasts with ribs
3 chicken thighs with legs
pinch of red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, add the orange juice and honey and blend with a whisk until smooth. Add the cumin, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and shallots and mix.
Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Lay them on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Spoon the mixture on all of the pieces of chicken and be sure to reserve some liquid to coat halfway through the roasting.
Broadcast the pepper flakes amongst the chicken pieces.
Roast for 60 minutes, taking time to baste with the set aside liquid after about 40 minutes of roasting. If you have an instant-read thermometer, when it reads 155 to 165 degrees (insert in the deepest piece of meat) then it is done. There will be lots of juices on the bottom of the pan that you can finish basting the chicken once done.
Turn off oven, remove chicken and let rest for about ten minutes. You are now ready for deliciousness.
Roasted Root Vegetables
5 red radishes
4 baby beets or 1 large beet
1 sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 springs of fresh thyme, stem removed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the ends and any blemishes off the radishes and thinly slice.
Peel the skins and trim the ends of the beet(s) and thinly slice.
Peel the skin and trims the ends of the sweet potato and thinly slice.
Toss the radishes, beets, and sweet potatoes in a bowl and mix with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and time.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the root vegetables so they are as level a layer as possible.
Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway. Keep on eye on them so they are the consistency that you want. The longer it goes, the crispier… however the higher the chance it has of overcooking and burning.
Remove and serve with the roast chicken.
Mmmmm… what else do you need?
Life is good.
Eat well, my friends. Eat well.