Menu Monday 2
It’s time for another Menu Monday! Apparently I’m making this a bi-weekly thing, but that’s okay. For a refresher on what Menu Monday is, you can see the first one here. This week’s installment looked a bit like this:
This weekend my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary a few days early. I made us a beautiful meal that focused on his favorites. My husband is generally a fairly picky eater, and he likes the simple things in life. His absolute favorite meal that I make is roast chicken. So that’s what I made. I made a beautiful and simple wine gravy to pour over it. Alongside the chicken we had mixed roasted vegetables. And to finish it all off, I made a fantastic chocolate cream pie.
This meal isn’t necessarily something you could pull together on the fly, but if you make the pie the day before, the chicken, veggies and gravy can be done in under two hours. This is a fantastic menu for company, or just for a romantic dinner for two (with leftovers).
Before I get into the recipes, I have to note that it is absolutely a must to make stock from your carcass. I mean, really, why throw it away when you can get another meal (or two or three) out of it? My method is super easy, and I share it below.
First Course: Roast Chicken with Wine Gravy
This is an incredibly low maintenance way to roast chicken. I highly recommend it.
- one organic, free range chicken, about 4 lbs., bag of giblets removed
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- one lemon, cut in half
- one large onion, cut into quarters
- several sprigs of thyme
- 1 cup white wine
Get your chicken out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature at least half an hour (but no more than two hours) before you are going to cook it. Rinse it and pat it dry, then place it on a rack in a roasting pan. (If you are making the roasted veggies, put the chicken on the rack over the veggies – see below). Preheat oven to 450.
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and then massage the oil on the bird to cover every surface. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the lemon, onion, and thyme sprigs. (If they won’t all fit, then put the remaining onion in the roasting pan). Roast for about 55 minutes to an hour, or until an instant read thermometer registers 165. Remove from the oven and let rest for about ten minutes, tented with foil.
Transfer the bird onto a carving board. Place the pan with the chicken drippings (after removing any veggies) onto the stove top and heat to medium-high. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Let it come to a simmer, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, until you have a nice gravy with the alcohol cooked out. Pour into a gravy separator, or spoon off the excess fat before serving.
Carve the bird and serve with the gravy.
* To make stock from your carcass, transfer the carcass after the meat has been removed (a few scraps left on are a good thing) along with the lemon, onion, and thyme from the cavity to your slow cooker. Add a couple of bay leaves and some chopped celery and carrots. Add about 8 cups of water, or enough to cover most of the bird, and run the slow cooker on high for three hours. Strain out all the solids, and voila, you have stock.
Second Course: Roasted Veggies
All right, technically this is a side dish, not a second course. But if you ask me, these veggies are delicious enough to make a meal out of. This is a great way to get someone who doesn’t think they like a lot of vegetables to absolutely love them. You can use just about any veggies you like, but this is my favorite combination.
- 5 medium sized red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped into fairly large bite-size pieces
- 1/2 lb. green beans, cut to 2 inch lengths
- 3 medium carrots, chopped into large bite-size pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic, still in their paper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
Place all the vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan that will hold your chicken. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together to coat well. Place the rack and chicken on top of the veggies, and cook everything together. When the chicken is done and transferred to a carving board to rest, scoop out the veggies with a slotted spoon and put in a serving dish.
Third Course: Chocolate Cream Pie
This one is not a recipe that I can claim credit for. This is Ellie Krieger’s recipe for double chocolate pudding pie, from her first book, The Food You Crave. The only change I made was to use chocolate graham crackers for the crust instead of regular ones. You can find her recipe here. I highly recommend it – it is one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made, and both my husband and I had seconds.
So there you have it, a romantic meal for an anniversary or any other special occasion! And if you make it for two people you will have plenty of leftovers to use throughout the week.