Rustic Roast Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Sausage

Pastured chicken, sweet peppers, sausage, fresh herbs and garlicky croûtons. One of my personal favorites..

Rustic Roast Chicken

Rustic Roast Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Sausage

For the Bone Broth (adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller)

5 pounds chicken parts such as necks, bones, backs, wings and feet
1 gallon cold, filtered water
1 3/4 cups carrots cut into 1-inch cubes
2 heaping cups leeks cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
1 1/2 cups Spanish onions cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf

Keller writes “As with all stocks, the goal is to remove impurities while extracting as much flavor and gelatin as possible from the bones, and the maximum flavor from the vegetables and aromatics.  You do this not only through gentle heat, but through gradual heat transitions as well; in other words, you don’t start with hot water, you begin with cold and bring it slowly up to heat”.

Rinse the chicken parts thoroughly under cold water to remove any remaining blood.  This helps to ensure that the resulting stock is clear, not cloudy.

Put all the bones into a large stock pot and add a gallon of cold water, just enough to cover the bones.  Slowly bring the liquid to a simmer and begin to skim as soon as the impurities rise to the top. Continue to simmer and skim until as much of the impurities have been removed as possible.

Add the vegetables and bay leaf and continue to simmer and skim for 45 minutes.  This recipes produces a lightly-flavored, gelatinous stock suitable for soups and braising.  For a stronger stock, simply continue to simmer and skim until the liquid has been reduced by 1/3 in volume.

Turn off the heat and let the stock rest 10 minutes to allow any particles left in the stock to settle to the bottom.

Ladle the finished stock through a strainer lined with a tea towel into a suitably large container, then transfer into quart jars set in a pan of ice water.  Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to keep for up to 3 days.

For the Vegetables

Split a number of sweet peppers, Spanish onion and plum tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a skillet or on a parchment paper-lined tray.  Roast in a 375 degree oven until blistered but not blackened, about 30 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool enough to handle, then pull the skins off the peppers and tomatoes.

Coarsely chop the vegetables with fresh basil and oregano and set aside.

For the Chicken

Split large breasts and thighs into 2-3 pieces each and season lightly with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Melt a couple of tablespoonfuls of chicken fat in a heavy skillet.  Add the chicken as soon as the fat is shimmering but not smoking, and brown well on all sides.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Cut 1-2 pieces of Italian sausage on a deep bias so that there is a lot of exposed surface area.  Brown the sausage in the same pan that you used for the chicken.

Arrange chicken and sausage in a Dutch oven containing 1 cup of bone broth as shown below.  Scatter roasted vegetables over the top, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and place uncovered in a 375 oven until the chicken has finished cooking, about 15 minutes.

For the Croûtons

Steep a clove of garlic in pastured butter for a few minutes, then toss in roughly-torn pieces of bread and fry until golden brown.  Add chopped parsley and give the croûtons one more toss before setting aside.

To assemble, arrange alternating pieces of chicken and sausage on a plate and top with vegetables.  Tuck in some croûtons here and there, then drizzle all with some of the roasting juices.  Garnish with additional chopped herbs and serve immediately.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken, Cream Gravy

While the exact origin of Maryland Fried Chicken isn’t known for certain, a dish by this name did show up on the menu of New York’s Grand Union Hotel as early as 1878..

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and accompaniments

1 whole pastured frying chicken, cut up
3 cups fresh whole milk plus the juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 cups sprouted wheat flour
1 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, oregano and basil

4 oz ghee or clarified, pastured butter
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh cream
1 cup chicken stock

fresh parsley, chopped

Wash chicken and place in a non-reactive bowl.  Pour in enough milk to cover then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Combine flour, pepper, salt, paprika and dried herbs in a bowl.  Lift a piece of chicken with one hand, let the milk run off, then place into the flour mixture.  Use the other hand to coat the chicken and place onto a plate.  Repeat until all the chicken has been lightly but thoroughly dredged.

Heat the butter in a high-walled iron skillet over medium heat to about 325-330 degrees (this is why you need a fat such as clarified butter with a high smoke-point), then carefully place the chicken in the pan, working in batches if necessary.  Don’t crowd the pan too much.  Turning as little as possible, cook until well browned on all sides.  Transfer chicken to a heat-proof dish and finish in a 275 degree oven while you make the gravy (assuming another 15 minutes or so).

Add the onion and garlic to the pan that the chicken was cooked in and fry until golden.  Scrape up the brown bits with the side of a wooden spoon, then whisk in enough of the remaining seasoned flour to form a thick paste (roux).  Stirring continuously, cook until the flour is no longer raw, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat cream and chicken stock just to the boiling point.  Whisk in roux and cook until gravy has thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The chicken may be served with the gravy over the top or on the side, as you prefer.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Thursday

Chili Cheese Grits

Tonight’s challenge was to make something nourishing, tasty and inexpensive using mostly SOLE foods (sustainable, organic, local and ethical).

These chili cheese grits, made from local grass-fed beef and stone-ground yellow grits succeed on all points, I think..

Chili Cheese Grits

Chili Cheese Grits

For the Grits

1/2 cup organic, coarse yellow grits
2 cups fresh whole milk
1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric (optional)
1/4 teaspoon organic annatto powder (optional)
1 small jalapeño, finely diced
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 cup raw cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
filtered water

Slowly bring the milk to a slow boil over medium heat.  Add grits in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously.

Add jalapeño (and turmeric & annatto if using), reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until grits are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in butter, cheese and cilantro.  Thin with water if necessary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Chile

1/2 pound 80% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon beef tallow
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 small dried New Mexico or Ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tablespoon chile paste
1/4 cup filtered water
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Toast cumin seeds in tallow.  Add ground beef, dried chiles and onions and cook until browned.

Add tomatoes, oregano, chili paste and water and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve, spoon chili into a bowl.  Make a well in the center, spoon in the grits and serve piping hot.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter

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Avocado Black Bean Quesadillas

Fresh whole wheat tortillas, homemade chili con queso, avocado, black beans and heirloom tomato..

Avocado Black Bean Quesadillas

Avocado Black Bean Quesadillas

For the Chile con Queso

Gather jalapeños, green onions, garlic and cilantro from your backyard (or CSA, farmers’ market or co-op), grab some fresh whole milk and raw cheddar from the fridge and whole cumin, coriander, sea salt, pepper, chili powder and Mexican oregano from the pantry.

Toast the seeds in a dry pan over moderate heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add oregano, garlic, chili powder and milk and simmer for a few minutes.

Stirring briskly, add peppers, onions, cilantro and lots of shredded cheese.  Continue to stir until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened, perhaps 5 minutes (do not let the mixture boil, or you will lose valuable nutritional value and risk curdling the sauce).  Add a little more milk if too thick, a little more cheese if too thin.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Filling

Mix together roughly equal parts diced white onion, avocado, cooked black beans and tomatoes.  Add the juice from half of a fresh lime, bits of diced red Fresno and poblano peppers and chopped cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate at least one hour before using.


Using a rubber spatula, spread a thin layer of cooled chili con queso on one side of each tortilla.  Be sure to spread all the way to the edge.

Spoon avocado mixture into the center of a tortilla and spread to within about 1/2 inch of the edge.  Top with another tortilla and press the edges together to form a seal.

Place the assembled quesadillas into a lightly-greased comal or skillet and cook in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is bubbling and the tortillas have begun to get crisp and brown on the edges.

Slide the quesadillas onto a cutting board and let stand 2-3 minutes before cutting into wedges.  Serve with pro-biotic pickled red onions on the side.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday

Roasted Tomato and White Bean Soup with Tasso Ham

Here’s a super-nourishing and frugal dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Roasted San Marzano tomatoes, yellow onions, garlic and peppers with spicy Tasso ham, celery, fresh herbs and raw olive oil..


Roasted Tomato and White Bean Soup with Tasso Ham

(click image to enlarge)

Serves 2-3 as a main dish

A specialty of Cajun cuisine, tasso ham is a spicy, peppery smoked pork butt

1 28 oz can organic San Marzano tomatoes, drained (juice reserved) OR equiv. fresh plum tomatoes
1 can organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, OR equiv. soaked and cooked dry white beans
8 oz tasso ham, cut into cubes
1/2 large yellow onion
1 head garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
1 large Italian grilling pepper
1/3 cup celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 6-inch sprig rosemary
3-4 basil leaves
1 small bunch thyme
2 blades mace
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon hulled cardamom
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper more-or-less
3/4 teaspoon sea salt more-or-less

Lay the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast in a 500 degree oven until browned/blistered.  Set aside to cool.

Sauté celery, tasso and whole spices with butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until celery is soft and spices are fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Working in batches if necessary, squeeze garlic from their skins and pulse roasted vegetables in a food processor until slightly chunky.  Transfer to Dutch oven with celery and ham.

Stir in cooked beans, ground spices and minced fresh herbs.  Adjust consistency with reserved tomato juice and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and dress with a tablespoon of good olive oil.  Accompany with slices of toasted alternative-grain bread if that’s to your liking.

This post is both part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet and
the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods at Kitchen Stewardship!

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