Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunday Suppers

It is wonderful.  My books are off the floor, back on shelves where they belong.  The cream-colored outlets and plates have been changed out for pristine white ones.  We even hung up a picture.  It looks rather lonely right now, but it will have neighbors in good time.  It feels so good to get things done, completely done.  We were able to knock out our to-do list in the morning, and then relax and enjoy the rest of Sunday afternoon.

I love the idea of Sunday Suppers.  Without any religious implications, there is something about a day of rest, a day of family togetherness capped with a slow meal in the evening  where we can reflect on our week and be grateful for the things we have.  My family has too few of these.  Our weekends seemed to be filled with running errands, or just running in circles.  It's something I want to change.

One of my favorite things to make for a Sunday family dinner is a roast chicken.  It's simple and casual, but there is something just a little special about it. Most of the time, I simply take some herbs de provence, mix it with some softened butter, and then rub that over the entire chicken and roast it.  Last night I tried something new, and I think it turned out wonderfully.

Roast Chicken with Apples, Onions, and Potatoes adapted from Everybody Eats Well in Belgium by Ruth Van Waerebeek

I love one-dish meals.  All you need is some good bread, and you have a beautiful Sunday dinner.  You need to use a roasting pan that is just big enough to hold the chicken and vegetables.  If it is too big, they will dry out.  Preferably you would use one a little wider and shallower than the one pictured above.  I couldn't find the right pan, and while this worked, my potatoes did not brown as much as I would like, and my chicken thighs were a little underdone.  Still, it was delicious.  The combination of potatoes, apples, onions, and thyme make me nostalgic for something I'm not sure I ever knew.


1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 4 slices of smoked bacon
1 T unsalted butter
1 tsp paprika
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 granny smith or other tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
3 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 T minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper.  Very carefully, loosen the skin around the breast and legs with your fingers.  Insert a slice of bacon (I only used two slices and cut them in half) under the skin, covering each leg and breast.  This will give the chicken a wonderful smoky favor.  Truss your chicken with kitchen string, and then rub all over with butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Put it in the pan on its side, and roast for 10 minutes.  Turn the bird to the other side and roast for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the potatoes, apples, and onions with the olive oil and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Turn the chicken breast up, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Pour your potato mixture around the chicken, and then add the chicken broth.  Roast for about 50 minutes, or until the juices run clear.  You can add more chicken broth if it seems that the vegetables are burning.  Everything should be done with your vegetables are nicely browned, and most liquid has evaporated.

Let the chicken rest for five to ten minutes before carving.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

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