Roasted Chicken with Garlic~Thyme Butter & Strawberry, Almond, and Pea Salad

WEDNESDAY

Roasted Chicken with Garlic~Thyme Butter  |  Strawberry, Almond, and Pea Salad  |  Rice

Intro Collage

 

The school year began today and with this fresh start we mark the end of “summer”.    The season, officially, lingers for some weeks {and here in the Bay area, we often enjoy our warmest months in September and October} but leisurely mornings enjoying coffee on the deck and afternoon walks along the beach are replaced now with morning carpool, homework, football practice, and later dinners that must accommodate 5 very busy schedules.  We will eventually find our rhythm but this week, and most likely next week, we will maneuver through our days with these new, unknown schedules scratched upon pieces of paper and carried in much the same way tourists carry maps in unfamiliar cities.

When I made our menu for this week I knew that this evening’s dinner needed to be comforting and nourishing, a dinner you could sink into like a warm blanket after a long, tiresome day {especially for Max, who left the house at 7:15am and finally got home after school and football practice at 7:00pm}.  Roast chickens and a simple salad were just what my little troop needed…easy, for sure, and nothing says “Welcome Home” more than the scent of roasting birds in an oven.  I purchased 2 roaster chickens over the weekend for this dinner not knowing that Michael would be leaving on an unexpected trip to Japan yesterday.  I decided to roast both birds and will use the leftover meat for dinner tomorrow night, which will be a surprise {even for me} so check back to see what leftover chicken turns into!

I chose this recipe for the simple reason that I have SO MUCH thyme in the garden right now.  The remaining ingredients are few and simple…

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I doubled and only slightly adapted the recipe at Food & Wine by omitting the pan gravy and employing a foolproof, never-fail method of roasting chickens that I learned from Alice Waters in her own The Art of Simple Food.  Basically, turning the birds twice during the cooking process, has always produced chicken with beautifully golden skin and tender, moist meat throughout…

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Roasted Chickens with Garlic~Thyme Butter {adapted from Food & Wine}

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 garlic cloves—4 minced, 8 crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 2 thyme sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 chickens, 4 – 4½ pounds each
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, blend the butter with the minced garlic and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the breast skin of each chicken. Spread the butter evenly over the breast meat then smooth out the skin. Rub any extra garlic-thyme butter all over the outside of the chickens.
  2. Stuff the crushed garlic, thyme sprigs and lemon quarters into the cavity and tie the legs together with twine. Season the chickens with salt and pepper and set it in a large, flameproof roasting pan that has been coated with a light drizzle of olive oil. Roast the chickens for 30 minutes, breast side up, then remove the pan and rotate both birds to breast side down and return to the oven for 30 minutes.  Once again, remove the pan from the oven and rotate birds, once again to breast side up, and return to oven to finish roasting for another 30 minutes {or until the juices run clear when an inner thigh is pierced}. Transfer the chickens to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

 

This evening’s salad recipe was chosen in much the same way as the chicken above…from what is abundant at our house right now.  Namely, these beautiful little gems from a friend’s garden…

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And these fresh peas from the farmer’s market…

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Together with baby arugula, roasted Marcona almonds, and shavings of fresh Parmesan cheese all tossed in a poppy seed, mustard vinaigrette made for a beautiful and tasty accompaniment to our chicken and rice…

Salad 2 Collage

My slight adaptations to the original recipe at Bon Appétit included replacing the {processed} white sugar with raw, local honey {a much healthier option}…

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As well as replacing the white wine vinegar with champagne vinegar {a personal preference} and substituting grapeseed oil for vegetable oil.

Strawberry, Almond and Pea Salad {adapted from Bon Appétit}

  • ½ cup Marcona almonds
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 cups baby arugula or watercress, thick stems trimmed
  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup pea tendrils
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, shaved
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Whisk vinegar, mustard, poppy seeds, and honey in a large bowl. Whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes for fresh peas, or 2 minutes for frozen. Drain; transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Drain.
  4. Add arugula, strawberries, pea tendrils, peas, and almonds to vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with Parmesan.

This evening’s dinner plate…

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Wishing you all smooth transitions into the new school year!

K Initial

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