Yesterday I had a new student, Heather, who wanted to know how to improve the weekly meal she’s made for herself for work. She was in a good spot already with a balance of chicken, rice, broccoli and a salad, but felt it was always bland and boring. So, we looked at some new ways to prepare everything to really ramp up the flavor and health.
Here’s her menu:
Lemon Sage Roasted Whole Chicken
Steamed Broccoli with Lemon and Olive Oil
Crispy and Creamy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Baked Fragrant Brown Rice
Simple Spinach Salad with Maple Lemon Vinaigrette
Luscious Chicken Stock
We started with an inventory of the kitchen. It’s important to note that you don’t need the latest and greatest to cook fantastic food. We’re not making molecular gastronomy food foam here, just some good ol’ fashioned meat & veg, so we’ll do it will the most simple tools we can, thank you very much.
So here’s what we ended up with:
- The oven’s included roasting pan
- Very deep cast iron skillet
- Cast iron crepe pan
- Wusthof chef’s knife (nice!!) & a cutting board
- Small pot
- A hand towel
- A large mixing bowl
- digital thermometer
Now that’s not too demanding of a list, is it? You’ve probably got some very similar stuff at your house, or something that can stand in at most points.
Next up, we went to the grocery store and picked up our ingredients. We chose the grocery store Heather always shops at, because that’s where she always shops. Pretty easy choice, non?
Some notes on selecting a chicken: The best you can get is a pasture raised chicken that spends it’s whole life in the field eating grass and bugs. These can be very hard to find in mega-marts, so if you’re not shopping at stores that specialize in local foods, go for a cage-free grass-fed bird.
We then went through the rest of the ingredients and I gave her tips on how to find the best of everything in the pile, then it’s back to the kitchen to get cooking.
Now if I went into major detail, you guys would have no need to take my class! So I’m leaving it out! Haha!
But, honestly you can find recipes for everything these days. It’s years of practiced technique that I’m teaching, not just how to follow a recipe, mush in the same way you can read about book about doing something, but when you’ve got another human in front of you showing you how to do it, it just makes so much more sense. So when you need me, I’m here.
Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Sage
1 whole chicken
2 carrots, broken into pieces
2 stalks celery, broken into pieces
1 onion, sliced into 3-4 disks
2 sprigs sage
1 lemon, pricked all over with a knife
preheat oven to 475
start by layering your carrots, celery, and onions on a roasting pan to make a fragrant bed of aromatics for the chicken to cook on. If your chicken included giblets, put them in the middle.
douse the chicken in olive oil and salt, and give it a good massage all over to loosen up the joints (makes for easy cutting later) and lubricate.
sprinkle the cavity with salt, then stuff with sage and plug the hole with your pricked lemon.
place on the bed of aromatics breast up and insert into oven. Cook for 40 minutes, then drizzle with with a generous dose of olive oil. Cook for another 30-40 minutes, or just until meat registers 165F