Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lemon-Roasted Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower

I had a little change of schedule last night for dinner, because my avocado was not quite ripe enough for guacamole. If you've ever tried to make guacamole with an unripe avocado, you know it's better to just wait on the avocado. So, we'll have that meal Wednesday.

Last night, we had the Lemon-Roasted Chicken, Carrot Couscous, and "a vegetable" that was on this week's menu. The vegetable ended up being cauliflower because the grocer had nice big, fresh heads for $2. We are normally a cauliflower and cheese sauce kind of family (i.e., not too adventurous with our cauliflower), but we had some flavors going on in our meal last night that did not blend with cheese sauce, so I went hunting. I found a recipe in "Cooking Light" for a roasted cauliflower that sounded really good. I've never roasted cauliflower, but roasting vegetables is one of my favorite cooking methods. The recipe called for the addition of onions and garlic cloves, as well as a light mixture of Dijon mustard. Since we had garlic going in the chicken, I decided to skip it in the cauliflower, but if you were serving a more basic meat dish, or really love garlic, I would say go for it.

I had planned to make the recipe for Couscous with Carrot and Cilantro in this month's "Everyday Food," but we had so many other flavors going on, I skipped the cilantro. I'll try it another day with the cilantro in it, because I think my guys would love it.

All-in-all, this meal was easy enough for a weeknight -- I didn't even start it until after 5 and we ate shortly after 6 -- and nice enough for company. The flavor of the chicken was really good, although I roasted only drumsticks and thighs, and I prefer white meat. And the cauliflower was wonderful. I will definitely make it again and again. The cauliflower had a mildly seasoned taste -- you could not tell that it was mustard, and the roasted onions were yummy. I would add the garlic next time, I don't think it would be overwhelming. My house smelled divine too -- what a treat it would be for company! I'm posting these recipes with my modifications. The original is here and here.

Roasted Cauliflower

3 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced in eighths (I cut mine like apple slices)
5 garlic cloves, halved
4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 T. water
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.
Drizzle large rimmed baking sheet with 1 t. olive oil
and smear with your hands.
Place onion, garlic, and cauliflower in a large bowl.
Drizzle with 2 t. olive oil.
Mix mustard and water and pour over vegetables.
Toss with salt and pepper.
Place on baking sheet and spread out.
Bake at 450° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown,
stirring occasionally.
Taste and season again if needed.

Lemon-Roasted Chicken

12 small pieces or 6 large pieces bone-in chicken
(I had one drumstick and one thigh for each person)
2 lemons, each cut into 8 wedges
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 t. dried oregano
4 T. olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.
If using large pieces of chicken (breasts) cut each in half crosswise
(this allows them to cook more quickly).
Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces and place in a large bowl.
Add lemons and garlic cloves to bowl, squeezing each lemon piece slightly.
Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with 3 T. olive oil.
Toss with salt and pepper.
Drizzle rimmed baking sheet with remaining tablespoon
olive oil and smear with your hands.
Place chicken pieces on sheet, skin side up,
arranging so pieces don't touch.
Place lemon pieces and garlic cloves
on top of chicken pieces randomly.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.
Test for doneness and serve when juices run clear.

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