We eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but I roast a whole lightly brined organic chicken about once every three weeks (no growing boys at home!) And I’ve gotten lazy: don’t stuff or truss, just put it in an oven preheated to 425 F, turn down the heat to 325 F, and let it go, slow and low, for about 3 hours. I always drizzle it with olive oil; often I add cracked pepper and dried herbs, sometimes lemon juice, tamari, and/or ginger. If it’s finished before we’re ready, I let the chicken sit covered in the warm oven, bringing it back to sizzling under the broiler or on “convection – high”. Basting is important, but I don’t beat myself up if it happens only 2-3 times. Left over chicken goes into enchiladas, curry, soup & chili, salads, and/or sandwiches.
Last night we had a “ragout” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragout) made out of the last meat I was able to pull off the carcass of our most recent “roast”. The bones went into a pot with water and herbs to make broth – that’ll be enough stock for the week to come. Jasmine (for whom I bake dog treats) was joyful about the bits and pieces I was able to pick off the boiled bones.
Rustic Chicken Ragout (serves 2-4 depending… you know!)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium stalks celery with leaves, washed and chopped (fennel is a nice alternative)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley (chop some extra for garnish if you like)
1 clove garlic (2 if you prefer)
3-4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (the lavender in this blend makes it extra special!)
1 pint basket organic grape tomatoes, washed, but not chopped (unless you want to take the time.)
1-2 cups pulled roasted chicken (light and dark meat – whatever you’re able to harvest)
2 cups chicken stock (and a little white wine if you have some open and like to use it in a sauce.)
salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste
Optional: Garnish with a little grated cheese, some freshly minced parsley, or dollop of pesto
Serve over a bed of steamed chard or rice. (Last night we cooked some delicious Northern Lakes Wild Rice given by a friend who orders it by the case: 1-651-399-4714). If using chard, you’ll need a large bunch. Wash it, slice horizontally into strips and steam it until just more than al dente – this will take only a few minutes.
1. In a medium sized frying pan saute the onions and celery in the olive oil until they begin to soften.
2. Add the chopped parsley, garlic, and Herbes de Provence. Note: the moisture from the fresh parsley will help protect the tender garlic from burning and turning bitter as it cooks. Saute a little longer until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the tomatoes and stir to coat with the hot vegetables, herbs, and olive oil mixture. Let them cook over a medium heat until the tomates begin to plump and burst with slight pressure from the back of a wooden spoon. Gently press each tomato, continuing to stir as the sauce will need the moisture from the tomatoes. If the sauce seems too dry before the tomatoes are soft enough to break, or if it dries too quickly whilst you’re popping the tomatoes, add a little white wine or some of the chicken broth.
4. Continue to cook the sauce, adding chicken broth as needed and to create your desired consistency.
5. Add the chicken; heat through and season to taste.
6. Serve over rice, noodles, or julienned chard as described above.