Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Planning Ahead; Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey, and Orange

After another long day, on Friday all I was good for was take-out pizza in front of the TV, but Saturday was another story. For once, instead of coming into the weekend with a to-do list twenty items long, I was determined to do nothing much with the day but play with the kids and relax. The only thing I did want to get done was plan the week's menus.

Once upon a time, the vast majority of my life was lived on a straight line between Lechmere T station and Porter Square, a distance of about four miles. Stopping at the grocery store after work to pick up a few things was a perfectly sensible thing to do, particularly since we didn't have a car and shopping trips were limited to what I could carry home. Then I got a job farther away, and we did have a car, and then we had a baby, and then we moved, and time in the evenings became a precious thing. I started doing a week's worth of planning at a time, and doing pretty much all of the grocery shopping at once.

It has become one of my favorite things to do, as long as I am not too tired or rushed, and it's something like doing a jigsaw puzzle. What's on sale or in season this week, what do I have in the fridge to use up, what's in the freezer that could be slotted in, what new recipes have caught my eye, what standbys have gone unused for a while, how much time am I going to have to cook?

This Saturday I got up, set JJ on the Gymini and settled down next to him with my notebook, cooking magazines, and so forth, and in an hour I had a week's worth of food sorted out and a shopping list written. I wanted to roast a chicken, since it had been a while. My normal recipe involves olive oil, garlic, and spices, and is wonderful, but I thought it might be nice to try something different, so I leafed through a folder of untried recipes until I came up with this one. For sides, I kept it simple with a box of long grain and wild rice mix and some steamed cauliflower.

This recipe was extremely good, and I'd make it again, but the honey didn't come through particularly (perhaps mine is too mild?), and I think the amount of cumin could be usefully increased (it's one of my favorite spices).

1 (3-pound) roasting chicken
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 400°.

Remove and discard giblets from the chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Combine honey and remaining ingredients. Rub honey mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken.

Place chicken, breast side up, on a foil-lined broiler pan. Pierce skin several times with a meat fork. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes; cover loosely with foil. Bake an additional 40 minutes or until the thermometer registers 180°. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard skin.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)

CALORIES 273 (27% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 2.2g,mono 3g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 31.2g; CHOLESTEROL 95mg; CALCIUM 37mg; SODIUM 241mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2000

No comments: