Sunday Dinner Recipes ~ Herb Butter Roast Chicken, Bread Salad & Braised Peas with Prosciutto & Pecorino Cheese



Herb-Butter Roast Chickens  |  Tuscan-Style Bread Salad  |  Braised Peas with Prosciutto, Pepper & Pecorino


Tonight’s dinner, referenced above, yeah,we’ll get to that.  Let’s rewind a bit…

I woke up this morning, well before dawn.  Mind wheels were spinning.  Mental checklists for this week’s horse-show trip were in over-drive.  I silently emerged from bed, into a soft-white robe & cashmere socks and made my way, quietly, downstairs.  I hit the button on the coffee maker and within seconds the aroma of fresh-brewed Blue Bottle coffee was filling the kitchen.  I poured myself a cup and went to sit, in the dark, by our living room window overlooking the SF Bay.  The sky was dark, midnight blue but the water sparkled in the moonlight.  I sipped my coffee while mesmerized by the ever-changing water below.  In that chair I found a peace I could not find, earlier, in bed.

After a while, I returned to the kitchen and, filled with inspiration, caffeine and/or guilt from the thought of leaving half of my family behind later this week, I decided to make a VERY FAVORITE family treat, a bit earlier than planned.  You see, the Olive Oil Maple Granola, scheduled for Tuesday, is my family’s FAVORITE treat {yes, even more than chocolate, ice cream, cookies, cake, potato chips, caramel corn…you name it}.  It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare & cooks in 45 minutes.  In under an hour, warm granola would be enjoyed by all! Michael went market shopping yesterday and, so very subtlety, purchased enough of the ingredients for this recipe to make a double-batch.  He didn’t say anything to me, but as I pulled out the bags of seeds, oats & coconut from the pantry…I knew.  As I said before, this granola comes together in under an hour…just in time for the rest of the clan to waken {maybe due to the aroma of roasting oats and maple syrup & brown sugar}.  We all enjoyed a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with warm Olive Oil Maple Granola this morning.  The abundance of left-overs will accompany the girls and I on our trip South, as well as provide breakfast & snacks for the boys while we are away…

Olive Oil Maple Granola {adapted from}

  • 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds, hulled
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
  • 2½ cups salted & roasted pistachios, left whole or coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • Coarse salt
  1. Heat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pistachios, syrup, olive oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Divide & spread granola mixture in an even layer on three {3} rimmed baking sheets, covered with parchment paper. Transfer sheets to oven and bake, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove granola from oven and season with more salt to taste. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

After breakfast, the girls got ready & headed off to the barn.  Both of their horses had appointments with Beverly Jacobs Equine Massage today to help them get show-ready & they had quite a bit of packing to do to get ready for our trip.  Max had a baseball game today around lunchtime.  Stuck in provisioning mode, I decided to prepare a couple of pound cakes {one could stay home with the boys for snacks & one could accompany us girls on our trip South}.  I chose our favorite pound cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen…

Lemon {Pound} Cake ~ {adapted from Smitten}

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and then the lemon zest.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter evenly between pans, smooth tops, and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  4. When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them onto a rack set over a tray.  Let cakes cool completely.

Lemon Cake Collage

Now, let’s get back to this evening’s dinner…

Tonight’s dinner actually began last night with “spatchcocking” or removing the backbones of our birds {check out how to do this in a video found on the right side of this page, under Tools, Tips, & Tricks entitled “How to Butterfly a Chicken”, followed by seasoning the birds with salt & pepper, covering same & placing in the refrigerator over night, reserving the backbones in a covered dish in the refrigerator.  This morning, I added those backbones to a pot, with a whole other chicken, cut up, with an onion, 2 celery ribs and 2 carrots, covered with water and 2 cups of dry white wine to make the broth for Monday night’s soup.  That broth simmered all day as I prepared this evening’s dinner…the rich aroma infiltrated the house & the neighborhood!  Let’s continue…

Herb-Butter Roast Chickens  |  Tuscan-Style Bread Salad {adapted from Food &}

  • 2 {3 ½-pound} chickens—cut in half, backbones discarded
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 cubes
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 8 small rosemary sprigs
  • 8 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 pound crusty Italian bread, such as ciabatta, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers—trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut through the core into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 8 small scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed sage leaves
  • One 1-pound head of raddichio torn into bite-size pieces (about 12 cups)
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1. On a work surface, cut the wings off of the chickens at the second joint, leaving the drumettes attached to the breasts. Transfer the wingettes to a small bowl. Season the chickens with salt and pepper and arrange skin side up on two large rimmed baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
    2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the chickens and top each half with 2 cubes of the butter. Scatter the thyme, rosemary and garlic over the chickens; let them return to room temperature.
    3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden but still slightly chewy. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
    4. In a very large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chicken livers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned and barely pink inside, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the livers to a plate to cool, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
    5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet until shimmering. Add the wingettes to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Add the fennel, scallions, sage and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once, until the fennel is tender and the wingettes are cooked through. Let cool slightly, then remove the meat from the wingettes; discard the skin and bones. Add the meat to the vegetables.
    6. Roast the chickens in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 165°; switch the pans halfway through roasting. Let rest for 10 minutes.
    7. In a bowl, toss the bread with the roasted vegetables, radicchio, livers, vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fold in 1/2 cup of the cheese shavings and season the bread salad with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread salad to a platter and scatter the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese shavings on top. Cut the chicken halves into two pieces and transfer to another platter. Serve hot with the bread salad.

    Chickens CollageIMG_9267Chicken Livers Collage

  • Chicken Wings & Veggies Collage The finished Bread Salad…
  • Finally, the Braised Peas with Prosciutto, Pepper & Pecorino:
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 red onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped prosciutto (2 ounces)
    • Kosher salt
    • 6 cups fresh peas (1 pound)
    • 3 cups water
    • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
    1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the red onion, prosciutto and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
    2. Stir in the peas and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender and almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the pepper and 1/4 cup of cheese and season with salt. Transfer the peas to a large bowl and serve, passing more cheese at the table.
  • And the finished dinner plate…
  • Just so you know…the chickens were moist, succulent, buttery & freshly-packed with herbs.  The bread salad was so savory with a crunch & the peas tasted as smooth as velvet.  A PERFECT Sunday dinner!

Have a GREAT week…it is going to be a WILD one for us…STAY TUNED!



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