Monday, March 7, 2011

Mortar Monday, Roasted Lemon Chicken

(Dakota was not diggin the butt shot.  It's been a long winter & she hasn't gotten her svelte, swimsuit body back yet.) 

This week the spotlight is on my granite mortar made in Thailand.  I picked it up at my local Asian market for under $10 & if you only want to get one mortar, I'd say this is the one to get.  It's ready to use as soon as you get it home & can be used for most everything.  That's right.  No arm achingly rice grinding or slathering it with oil, just a wash & it's ready to go.  I bought the 8" one & although it's still no sissy, I can lift it with one hand.  I think a larger one would be a little too heavy for me to easily navigate around the kitchen.  It's great for making fresh pesto, curry powder, guacamole, etc.  It's also a great way to get rid of a little tension after a rough day.

I use it to make the paste for my Lemon Roasted Chicken.  This is another one of my "no recipe" recipes, but it's recipe & can be adapted to whatever herbs you like.

For 2 chicken quarters I start out with fresh rosemary a little sprig of fresh oregano.  My oregano didn't like the winter so much so I had to add dried oregano to the mix along with a little thyme.  I popped in a couple of cloves of garlic with salt & pepper.  I also throw in a couple of teaspoons of unsalted Greek seasoning, I use Cavender's  (love, love, love).  You don't have to use Greek seasoning, but I just love Cavender's & try to use it whenever possible. It's time to smash, smash, smash.

After it's nice & smooshy I move the paste to glass bowl & add the juice & zest one one lemon.  I prefer to use 2 lemons because I love lemon, but one was all that I had.  
After I get the lemon juice mixed in with the paste, 
I whisk in a couple of glugs of olive oil & add the chicken in a glass bowl.  
I rub the marinade into the chicken & make sure that every surface of the chicken pieces have been slathered with the yummy marinade.  

I let the chicken hang out in the marinade for about an hour, but it's not necessary if you're in a hurry.  
While the chicken is soaking up the lemony goodness, I cubed some potatoes & tossed them with a little of the reserved marinade mixed with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

When I'm ready, I throw the chicken & potatoes into a baking dish & roast them in the oven at 375 degrees until the chicken is cooked through & the potatoes are tender on the inside, 
occasionally basting  the chicken & potatoes with the juices.

I transfer the chicken & potatoes to another dish & skim as much fat as possible from the juices.  
I use an enamel baking dish so I can put the dish on top of the stove & deglaze with a little white wine, lemon juice, chicken broth or water, just to loosen the browned bits on the bottom.  
I turn off the stove & add a pat of butter & stir until the butter has melted & imparted it's glossiness to the sauce.

I dish it up & spoon some of the sauce over the chicken & potatoes & I'm ready to eat.

I made rolls & a salad to go along with the rest of the meal.  
I love these rolls & they're so quick (relatively speaking) & easy to make.  
The olive oil in the marinade gives the chicken & potatoes a nice crispy 
exterior, but leaves the chicken moist & the potatoes soft on the inside. 

I usually roast everything about 30-45 minutes, but if I'm uncertain, I use a quick read thermometer to make sure the chicken has cooked through.  
The balsamic vinegar makes the potatoes look a bit dark, but I promise they aren't burned.  

This is my easy, "go to" meal that I make once every week or two.  I think it's perfect for guests, 
a date, or just a weeknight meal.  I always use chicken thighs because I like them & they cook quickly, but I've also roasted a whole chicken using the same marinade.
It's a budget friendly dish that uses ingredients that most can find in their pantry.  If lemons are crazy expensive, I sub with limes & the result is just as tasty.

Please do try this recipe & make it your own.  I've never served it to anyone who didn't like it, & trust me, my friends can be painfully honest (hugs).  I know they like the meal if they ask for the recipe
or ask me to make it again.

If you'd like the recipe for the rolls, I'll be more than happy to post it for all to enjoy.

Hope your day has been nice.

1 comment:

silverscreamgrl said...

YUMMY!!! That looked super duper delicious. I couldn't find the comments thing. I did something to my computer where I cannot see most things. Hoping to get Rhys out here to help me soon. I'm in computer hell :(