Time to get back into the kitchen

It has been raining furiously for the past few days, and I couldn't be happier. I love a downpour and darkened sky- it slows me down and makes me want to nestle somewhere cozy where I can hear the heartbeat of the rain on the rooftop.
It also brings me back into the kitchen. It has been a busy summer and I haven't spent as much time cooking as I wanted to. Like the seasons, sometimes we need to stop for a rest or to slow down to let new ideas simmer.

Fall is a perfect time to let life take a more abbreviated pace.
It is a time of stews and cobblers, roasts and root vegetables. It is a time to let the oven do most of the work.
Slow cooking. Cooking slowly.

One of my favorite fall dishes is a simple roasted chicken. I love starting the feast by basting the liver in butter until it is cooked, but still rosy pink on the inside. It is like a secret treat before the main meal. It reminds me of watching my mom make broth from the "goodies" harvested from inside the cavity. One of the many techniques she learned from her European mother that was later passed down to me. These days, you may have noticed at your favorite local restaurant, innards are definitely "in". Nose to tail, girth to giblet. But I digress.....

I am also dreaming of slow-roasted short-ribs. {PS: you must try some deliciously tender short ribs at my favorite local gastro pub Holeman & Finch}. And hearty soups and stews. One pot casseroles. Oven to table goodness. Light a fire and let it roar. Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine. Crank up the oven and join me in the kitchen.

Here is a recipe to get your taste buds ready for the fall harvest offerings. No innards here, just a celebration of this season's harvest root vegetables with inexpensive chicken thighs.


1 wedge of preserved lemon
3 parsnips
2 carrots or bunch of baby carrots
1 medium yellow onion
1 cup butternut squash or sweet potato pieces { use peeled vegetables, cut into 1/2 chunks}
3 Tablespoons olive oil
fresh thyme sprigs
1 cloves garlic , crushed
6-8 boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. citrus fennel aromatic savory salt
1 cup Marinated Chickpeas with Garlic and lemon
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 cup Artichoke Lemon Pesto

Rinse the lemon wedge and remove the pulp and seeds with your thumb or back of a paring knife. Cut the wedges into thin crosswise slices. Peel and cut the parsnips into 1/2 inch pieces. Scrub the carrots clean and cut into 1/2 pieces or remove the green fronds from the whole baby carrots, leaving about 1/2 inch of green stem at the top. Cut the onion into half moon slices.

Toss the lemon and vegetables with oil, 1 teaspoon wild oregano salt and 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Place on a sheet pan. Add the garlic cloves. Sprinkle with sprigs of fresh thyme. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the squash or potato can be pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven when done.

To prepare the chicken, mix the flour, cinnamon and savory salt. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan just until melted and foamy. Add the chicken thighs and cook on both sides just until browned. Remove the chicken from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth. Stir in the artichoke pesto.

Add the chicken. Place the roasted vegetables with the chickpeas in the pan.Season to taste. Continue to cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked and sauce is thick. Spoon over warm artichoke mashed potatoes.

* To make the artichoke mashed potatoes, simply add artichoke lemon pesto to your favorite mashed potato recipe and enjoy!

Serves four.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry

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