January signals two things for me; nesting and comfort food.
With a new apartment, there is plenty of nesting to be done as I still don’t have anything on the walls or windows yet. My home improvement projects list is pages long and I still can’t find numerous items from the move across country. Snow day projects – check!
As for comfort food, my mind is on a nice roast chicken with some roasted potatoes and a fresh green salad. Then some homemade Italian chicken noodle soup with the fresh stock I am going to make after the roast chicken. Whose in?! Just bring a bottle of Sancerre and we are all set! Maybe an apple & pear crisp for dessert with some mascarpone & cinnamon fresh whipped cream? Ah yes.
A few notes on roasting a chicken:
1. Soften butter in a bowl and mix in fresh herbs like thyme and oregano. Then lift the skin of the chicken and spread the butter on the meat under the skin. Be careful not to tear the skin when separating from the meat. Spread the butter on the outside of the bird as well.
2. Cut a lemon into small pieces and push these under the skin as well.
3. Fill the cavity with fresh herbs, lemon parts and rough chopped shallots.
4. Rub the bird with olive oil (makes a crispy skin).
5. Roast carrots, parsnips, onions and celery in the bottom of the roasting pan. The chicken drippings make these veggies out of this world.
6. Put 1 cup of dry white wine in the bottom of the pan for the first 1/2 hour of roasting (do not add veggies yet). Cover the bird with foil. This will steam the bird a bit, making it more juicy.
7. When liquid has evaporated, add the veggies and remove the foil for the last 1/2 of cooking so the skin gets crispy. If you crank up the heat for the last 30 then it gets even crisper.
The best roasted potatoes are par-boiled before roasting. While they are boiling heat duck fat in your roasting pan. Add the potatoes turning to coat well in the hot fat. Then roast. This will give the potatoes a soft center and crispy skin.
Keep the salad simple – fresh shaved parmesan, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of good olive oil and maybe a handful of toasted pine nuts.
What is your January craving?