Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Chicken for Easter


I know ham is the traditional Easter dish, but this year we're having Spring Chicken. If you feel obligated to serve ham, you might want to consider adding these chicken and vegetable dishes to your Easter table.

You can bake a whole chicken using this recipe, but my family is partial to the white meat, so I did a little recalculating and transcribed it into white meat only. You could also use a turkey breast and adjust the baking time according to the weight of the breast. This is such a versatile recipe, and when you're done, you have everything except dessert in one pan in the oven.

There's also a nice surprise at the end of this recipe if you plan carefully: Spring Chicken Potato Salad. This was one of those happy accidents made from leftovers. I love chicken salad, and I love potato salad, but I had never thought of combining the two. Turns out, it's a great combination. Add boiled eggs, celery, onions and dressing and tomorrow's dinner is done.

The method of cooking corn in this recipe was a nice surprise, too! I'll be using it again, especially when I want corn on the cob for a crowd. Add lemon pieces, thyme and about an inch of chicken (or vegetable) stock to a baking pan large enough to hold your corn in one layer. Salt and pepper generously and drizzle with a little olive oil. It takes about an hour for the corn to become nice and tender and absorb all those great flavors. No need for adding any condiments before eating. (Turn the corn several times while cooking.)

It doesn't have to be Easter to enjoy this food around your table!

Spring Chicken

4 large chicken breasts with skin and bones

2 lemons

Several sprigs of Thyme

Salt and pepper

1 cup chicken broth

Olive oil

4 small ears of corn, shucked and cleaned

4 small potatoes, halved

1 bunch of asparagus

Preheat oven to 350°.

Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Slice lemons into thick pieces. Squeeze a good amount of the juice over both sides of the chicken catching the excess juice in a bowl. Place the breasts in a roasting pan, salt and pepper both sidesliberally, slip a couple of lemon slices under the skin of each breast along with a sprig of thyme. Place chicken skin side down in the pan and cook for fifteen minutes.

Remove pan, turn the chicken pieces over. Add corn to roasting pan between chicken pieces. Pour chicken broth into bottom of pan and add any remaining lemon pieces (even the squeezed ones) and thyme sprigs. Drizzle remaining lemon juice over the chicken. Then drizzle a small amount of olive oil over chicken and corn. Return to oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the corn occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small pan of salted water, cook potatoes just until barely tender, not fully cooked. Remove potatoes from water and add to roaster pan with some extra salt and pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil. Should be in the roasting pan about 45 minutes.

Place asparagus into same water you used to cook the potatoes. Boil for a couple of minutes, drain and set aside.

During last ten minutes of roasting chicken, add asparagus to the tops of chicken breasts.

Don't forget to serve pan juices with the meal!

Spring Chicken Potato Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into medium sized cubes

3 celery stalks, diced

2 cooked potatoes, cut into medium sized cubes

3 boiled eggs, cut into large dice

One-fourth cup red onion, small dice

One-fourth cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

One-half cup mayonnaise (Dukes)

One-half teaspoon salt

One-fourth teaspoon pepper

1 T seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. Minced fresh thyme

Add red onion to small bowl with one-fourth cup rice wine vinegar and three or four ice cubes. Stir and set aside while you prepare the rest of your salad.

Combine chicken, celery, potatoes and eggs in large mixing bowl.

Combine mayonnaise, salt, pepper, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and minced thyme.

Drain onions well, and add to chicken. Then dress the chicken salad with mayonnaise mixture, tossing gently completely combine.

Serve with fresh baby greens and toasted bread.

It's delicious!