Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Pasta and Vodka

IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6412Pasta is probably my favorite go to meal, and I mean Vodka? really? Add a little cream and a can of tomatoes and you’ve got a spectacular meal. You’ll also need a little fresh basil and parmesan to finish it off. It’s an easy meal and if you have the cream and cheese in the house you’re good to go. I always stock the tomatoes and I happened to have the cream in the house and there is always a bottle of Vodka in the freezer right? Fresh Basil is a wonderful layer but if you don’t have it you’ll still be fine. This pasta cooked up in no time and it was heavenly. Perfect for Meatless Monday dinner. IMG_6415 (2) IMG_6417 IMG_6420

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta ( rigatoni type of noodle is perfect)

3 cloves garlic, minced

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper– I love the heat but use at your own discretion

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon olive oil

app. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for sauce (taste for salt) you’ll also need about 2 teaspoons to cook the pasta in

1/3 cup Vodka

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano type so look for that

1/2 cup heavy cream

a few fresh basil leaves, cut up into smaller pieces

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions on box,  I always throw in about 2 teaspoons of salt to it. When pasta is ready , just drain. I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking.

Place a large skillet type pan on the stove (see pics) Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers ( app. 1 minute) add the garlic and red pepper (if you’re using it). Cook garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant but not browned, this should be less than a minute. Add the vodka and cook down the vodka until it is nearly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (start here and add to your own taste) bring to a boil (breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they cook down) A little trick I use is to use a potato masher and push down on the tomatoes while they’re cooking, just be careful and do it slowly because you wouldn’t want to get burned by some hot tomato sauce.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cream , basil and grated Parmesan and bring to a boil , then reduce and let flavors marinate for about another 1/2 hour on a very low heat. I continue breaking up the tomato bits. Add the cooked pasta to pot and stir to coat the pasta!!!!  Serve it up!!!!! A-mazing meat-less meal.

Kale and White Bean Soup

IMG_0276IMG_0278 IMG_0280 IMG_0282Sometimes you just feel like making something very quickly and easy. I was sticking close to home on this particularly snowy day and felt like eating something comforting and hearty. I happen to have all the ingredients for this soup in the house and improvised with a little lemon for extra added flavor. This is why I always keep certain staples in my pantry such as chicken or vegetable stock, garlic, onions and always have extra cans of cannelinni beans. I love a good fresh bean as much as the next but sometimes only canned will do. This was one of those times. This soup can actually be made in an hour from start to finish. Big recommendation if you’re in the market for hearty comforting soup this winter. Leftovers were a snap , I just added a little more broth and heated it up. A little freshly grated parmesan never hurt any either.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, minced– I chopped it finely

1/2 Tbsp. fresh garlic–minced as well ( app. 1 large clove)

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter–you can omit but I liked the flavor it added

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. dried oregano

1 small lemon, juiced

4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock/broth–depending on thickness of soup and consistency you like

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 (15 oz.) cans cooked cannellini beans, drained–not rinsed

1 – 2 cups loosely packed kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc. I happen to have a package of baby kale in the house so that’s what I used. Remove any rough stems and tear into small pieces if you’re working with whole heads of kale, etc.

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, I used my Le Creuset for this. Heat oil till it is shimmering and add the minced onion, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and translucent, I do this on a low flame. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the butter, and as it is melting add in the dried herbs. Let cook for another few minutes.

Add the lemon juice, add the stock and stir to combine. Cover, and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for about 1/2 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the white beans and kale leaves, and continue simmering until it is hot through and through, about 5 more minutes.

Serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan or just as is.

A nice piece of warm crusty bread would also be a perfect addition!

Enjoy!

 

 

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

I decided to re-post this amazing soup as it is one of my most favorite recipes and one of my most popular recipes. So very easy to make with pre-cut butternut squash readily available almost everywhere now. If you’d like a little different flavor you can roast the squash first.

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of grated nutmeg.  I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for our daughter Kerri , who is a vegetarian.

Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Pasta and Vodka

IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6412Pasta is probably my favorite go to meal, and I mean Vodka? really? Add a little cream and a can of tomatoes and you’ve got a spectacular meal. You’ll also need a little fresh basil and parmesan to finish it off. It’s an easy meal and if you have the cream and cheese in the house you’re good to go. I always stock the tomatoes and I happened to have the cream in the house and there is always a bottle of Vodka in the freezer right? Fresh Basil is a wonderful layer but if you don’t have it you’ll still be fine. This pasta cooked up in no time and it was heavenly. Perfect for Meatless Monday dinner. IMG_6415 (2) IMG_6417 IMG_6420

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta ( rigatoni type of noodle is perfect)

3 cloves garlic, minced

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper– I love the heat but use at your own discretion

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon olive oil

app. 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for sauce (taste for salt) you’ll also need about 2 teaspoons to cook the pasta in

1/3 cup Vodka

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, I prefer San Marzano type so look for that

1/2 cup heavy cream

a few fresh basil leaves, cut up into smaller pieces

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to directions on pot , I always throw in about 2 teaspoons of salt to it. When pasta is ready , just drain. I made the sauce while the pasta was cooking.

Place a large skillet type pan on the stove (see pics) Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers ( app. 1 minute) add the garlic and red pepper (if you’re using it). Cook garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant but not browned, this should be less than a minute. Add the vodka and cook down the vodka until it is nearly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (start here and add to your own taste) bring to a boil (breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they cook down) A little trick I use is to use a potato masher and push down on the tomatoes while they’re cooking, just be careful and do it slowly because you wouldn’t want to get burned by some hot tomato sauce.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cream , basil and grated Parmesan and bring to a boil , then reduce and let flavors marinate for about another 1/2 hour on a very low heat. I continue breaking up the tomato bits. Add the cooked pasta to pot and stir to coat the pasta!!!!  Serve it up!!!!! A-mazing meat-less meal.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

I decided to re-post this amazing soup as it is one of my most favorite recipes and one of my most popular recipes. So very easy to make with pre-cut butternut squash readily available almost everywhere now. If you’d like a little different flavor you can roast the squash first.

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri, who is vegetarian.

Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Chicken Stew in One Pot

This is one of  my go to meals when the weather turns a little cold and throughout the winter months.  When I need something to make that’s easy, healthy and comforting. Food for the soul I like to say. I serve this with crusty bread,  and a green salad. It’s very filling and makes a beautiful presentation for 2 or 6. Hope you enjoy, it’s really very easy , just chop up a few vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery, a basic *mirepoix) open a few cans and buy the chicken, don’t be intimidated by ingredients! This recipe inspired from Giada de Laurentis’s chicken stew. I have made a few changes to suit us.

*Basic Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Usually comprised of 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, small bite size pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into small bite size pieces

1 small white onion chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes ( I use San Marzano diced) large 28 oz. can with juice

16 oz. chicken broth (1/2 box) but you may need a bit more so hold on to rest of the box.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use 4 chicken breasts with ribs ( I usually go to butcher order 2 chicken breasts with bone in, split in two) if you go to supermarket, either buy 2 large breasts, or 4 smaller ones. Skin on and Bones in! app. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. total weight. You will be removing the skin, it will add to the flavor of the stew.

1 can red kidney beans drained ( if using organic, do not need to rinse) 15 oz.

1 can black beans drained ( if using organic , do not need to rinse either) 15 oz.

nice crusty whole grain bread

Directions:

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart. pot. ( Le Creuset again) heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add the onions, celery , and carrot (Mirepoix mixture). Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will taste again towards the end, so if you want to hold off on this step you can. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Then add the chicken breasts , press to submerge in the sauce.

Bring the liquid to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring mixture occasionally, app. 30 minutes. Using tongs if you have them, if you don’t , buy them, remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool ( about 15 minutes) Discard the bay leaf, add the beans to the pot ( remember to drain) and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency, probably another 15 minutes or so.

Discard the chicken skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew back to a slow simmer. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

I usually cook , then turn off heat, and bring it back to simmer right before serving.

This should serve 6 well. I serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread. Everything is in the pot, veggies, and protein. Enjoy! it’s delicious. Don’t be put off, it’s really easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time.  If it’s made a few days ahead you may want to add the chicken broth to thin out.

What I’m Cooking Tonite – Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage – more comfort food

Prep for Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage

We are in Colorado now for the winter season. It’s  just one of those cozy, stay at home nights. My plan is to start the entire season of “Homeland ” tonite on demand tv. So as you can tell I have my work cut out for me. Lentil Soup was my thought with salad and a nice crusty whole grain bread. I am putting some spicy chicken sausage in it tonite as I want it to have a bit more substance as it is the main meal. Hope you feel like you want to make this hearty delicious soup. Also this will keep in fridge for at leasat 4 – 5 days, and it freezes well. I got my inspiration for this soup from Joy the Baker and my usual recipe without chicken sausage. A few new spices  like turmeric and cumin in it as well. Just an aside a little tidbit on Turmeric, it has long been considered to be one of  nature’s most powerful healers, so use it in the soup!  Making soup is not an exact science so if you don’t have all the spices, no biggie, if you want to use vegetable broth and no meat it’s OK, if you want to use turkey or pork sausage that’s perfectly acceptable. Just keep the liquid ingredients and the lentill proportion as is and you can add or subtract whatever you like. One suggestion is to add some spinach or swiss chard at the end of the cooking. I didn’t this time, but it is a nice touch, add it at the end of cooking, and it will wilt quickly and you can serve.   This will serve between 6 – 8 people nicely . So we will have plenty of leftovers to freeze up for another time.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of olive oil + one more after sausage browns ( you may need a bit more, you’ll have to play with it)

1 lb. chicken sausage , out of casing. I am using spicy chicken sausage, if you can’t get you can always add some crushed red pepper flakes for kick.

1 yellow onion chopped ( about a cup) more or less

3 stalks celery diced

3 carrots diced small

3 cloves garlic minced

2 cups uncooked lentils (any kind you can get)

1 tsp. kosher salt ( you will taste for salt and pepper at end)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

* 1/4  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( you may or may not want to add, depends on how spicy and hot you like it) you can also substitute cayenne powder (use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne)

8 cups chicken broth (also nice to use 1/2 veggie and 1/2 chicken )

1 – 2 cups of water depending on how much you’ll need at the end

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

In a large saucepan ( Le Creuset once again) over medium heat, heat up the  3 tablespoons of olive oil . Add the chicken sausage and cook, breaking up the chicken with the back of a wooden spoon so pieces are smaller and crumbly.( small chunks) Once it’s cooked ( about 8 – 10 minutes ) remove from pan.

See if you need more olive oil and add if you do. ( I did add about 1 more tablespoon)Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent ( 5 – 7 minutes) Stir occasionally. Add the garlic, and spices , cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes . Add the sausage back into the pan, Stir to incorporate all . Add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered , until the lentils are soft. At least an hour, I like it to cook for as long as I can. I added about 2 cups of water towards the end, you’ll have to see for yourself, add a little at a time. Serve soup with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan Cheese, and good crusty bread.

Chicken Stew in One Pot

This is one of  my go to meals when the weather turns a little cold and throughout the winter months.  When I need something to make that’s easy, healthy and comforting. Food for the soul I like to say. I serve this with crusty bread,  and a green salad. It’s very filling and makes a beautiful presentation for 2 or 6. Hope you enjoy, it’s really very easy , just chop up a few vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery, a basic *mirepoix) open a few cans and buy the chicken, don’t be intimidated by ingredients! This recipe inspired from Giada de Laurentis’s chicken stew. I have made a few changes to suit us.

*Basic Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Usually comprised of 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, small bite size pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into small bite size pieces

1 small white onion chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes ( I use San Marzano diced) large 28 oz. can with juice

16 oz. chicken broth (1/2 box) but you may need a bit more so hold on to rest of the box.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use 4 chicken breasts with ribs ( I usually go to butcher order 2 chicken breasts with bone in, split in two) if you go to supermarket, either buy 2 large breasts, or 4 smaller ones. Skin on and Bones in! app. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. total weight. You will be removing the skin, it will add to the flavor of the stew.

1 can red kidney beans drained ( if using organic, do not need to rinse) 15 oz.

1 can black beans drained ( if using organic , do not need to rinse either) 15 oz.

nice crusty whole grain bread

Directions:

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart. pot. ( Le Creuset again) heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add the onions, celery , and carrot (Mirepoix mixture). Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will taste again towards the end, so if you want to hold off on this step you can. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Then add the chicken breasts , press to submerge in the sauce.

Bring the liquid to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring mixture occasionally, app. 30 minutes. Using tongs if you have them, if you don’t , buy them, remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool ( about 15 minutes) Discard the bay leaf, add the beans to the pot ( remember to drain) and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency, probably another 15 minutes or so.

Discard the chicken skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew back to a slow simmer. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

I usually cook , then turn off heat, and bring it back to simmer right before serving.

This should serve 6 well. I serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread. Everything is in the pot, veggies, and protein. Enjoy! it’s delicious. Don’t be put off, it’s really easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time.  If it’s made a few days ahead you may want to add the chicken broth to thin out.

Good Old Roast Chicken

Good Old Roast Chicken

As a young cook, one of the most intimidating things to make for dinner is a roast chicken. It should be simple but somehow it seems complicated–tying up the legs, stuffing the cavity, etc. It took me many years to feel confident about the bird thing. The carving alone could set you over the edge. I conquered my fear and while I’m not the best carver in the world I make do and figure it out. The key to carving is letting the bird sit for at least 10 minutes. This seals in the juices and makes carving just a bit simpler. I can’t really help with the carving (you can go online and get a tutorial). I go by feel. I used to take a 5 lb chicken and hack it up so badly, but after a few attempts, I sort of figured it out and I’m sure you will too. I use an organic chicken, which you can get in any supermarket now. I just prefer it. Kosher is also very good here. Also, always pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This little tip goes a long way to a delicious chicken. I will keep a chicken frozen and take it out the night before to defrost and then the next day put it in the fridge to finish defrosting. It’s such a homey meal to make and your house will smell divine.

You may need to make this a few times to perfect it. Practice makes perfect. I always say if it’s a new recipe don’t make it for company .  The time to practice is on yourself or your family . I try to never make a new recipe for guests it’s too stressful and why do that when I have so many tried and true recipes that I can count on. Just saying….

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole roasting chicken (5 to 6 lbs; I prefer organic or kosher)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small lemon, cut in half

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

Olive oil (I use about 2 tablespoons which I put in a ramekin to brush the chicken) you may use a little bit more or less . You also need a bit for the pan veggies.

1 large yellow onion, cut thickly

4 carrots, I cut them into threes

1 bulb fennel, tops and sprigs removed and cut into wedges or slices–I love fennel but if you don’t use it it’s OK. The onions and vegetables are still delicious.

fresh thyme–I stuff almost the whole package into the chicken cavity. I leave out a few sprigs to sprinkle over the vegetables.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. You will need a roasting pan with sides deep enough to roast chicken with gravy.

Remove the chicken giblets inside of cavity of chicken. ( I don’t use them so I toss them.) Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers, and pat the outside of chicken dry; this is most important. I use a bunch of paper towels to do this, just wrap up chicken and let it dry while I am prepping everything else. I peel and cut up carrots, slice the onion thickly, cut up the fennel bulb, and put aside. Next, take chicken, and put some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the 2 halves of lemon (that’s why I use a small lemon) and stuff in all the garlic with skin and all. If you have the thyme, stuff this inside as well leaving out a few sprigs for veggies. Put carrots , onions, fennel into a large roasting pan. I place the chicken on top of some of the onions, scattering veggies around the chicken. Brush (silicone or pastry brush) the outside of the chicken with the olive oil all over chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I am fairly generous here with the salt and pepper, but don’t go overboard. Tie the legs together with poultry twine, and tuck the wings underneath the body of the chicken. (Don’t sweat the tucking, the wing tips might get a little burnt if they are sticking out.) Put a little olive oil over veggies (a very little) and using a spoon, mix around. If you are using the thyme, scatter the remaining sprigs around the veggies. I sprinkle a very little bit of salt and pepper on the veggies as well. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours (check on it after the first 45 minutes). When you check on chicken use either a baster or a large spoon and pour some of the pan juices over the chicken. Also add a little water or chicken broth to the roasting pan just to make a little more gravy, maybe 1/2 cup that’s it. If during the cooking process the liquid dries up just add some more water , just don’t let the pan dry out. The chicken is done when you cut between a leg and a thigh and the juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads between 165 and 175 degrees into the leg.  I then remove the chicken, leaving the vegetables in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. I place the chicken on a plate and let it rest for at least 10 minutes (20 is perfect) with aluminum foil. I slice the 2 breasts into pieces and remove the 2 drumsticks and thighs. I then take out the veggies, and serve with the chicken, and a little gravy from the pan juices.

*internal temperature when a chicken is done should be at least 165 degrees. I usually cook till 175 degrees. I also allow to sit for easier carving and chicken will actually continue to cook, and so temperature will go up. I tent in aluminum foil while it is resting so it doesn’t get too cool.

I also usually roast small potatoes separately. (See recipe for potatoes in the vegetables section on my blog.)