Friday, January 20, 2012

Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Butternut Squash and Fennel

 I've made this roasted chicken thigh and vegetable supper a few different ways....but the luscious, really luscious thing about it (besides being light on the wallet) is that you just throw a bunch of great food on a rimmed sheet pan, toss it with oil, salt, peppers, and rosemary, and shove it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Meantime--kiss your love, listen to NPR, iron your work blouse, or call your Mom.  Make double for leftovers or if you've invited a friend.   Wine?  Côtes du Rhône would definitely drink.

Roasted Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Butternut Squash and Fennel  1-2 servings -- Doubles easily
1/2 pound  boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 3), cut into fourths
1/2 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped or sliced fennel  (see below for a fennel lesson)
2 cups cut butternut squash (about half of a 1 -11/2 # squash-microwave the other half for lunch), cut into 1-2" pieces
3 small red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half or quarters depending on size (leave out for South Beach)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
Generous pinch freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh (1tsp if dried)
Pinch crushed red pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix all of the chicken and vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary, and red pepper, if using.  Toss well with hands to mix thoroughly.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until crispy and chicken thighs are done through without any pink at center.  Serve hot.

      Note:   You need more roasted root vegetables per person because vegetables in the oven lose their liquid, shrink, and are less than if you'd steamed them.

The Solo Cook might buy chopped butternut squash if she didn't want to peel (have a good peeler ready) the squash herself.  She could also sub peeled sweet potatoes for the squash. 

We had a bit of asparagus with butter and lemon with this meal...

 Quick Method:  Place trimmed asparagus (bend the asparagus and where it breaks is where you cut the spears) in a microwave safe bowl with just a tablespoon of water.  Cover and microwave on high 2 minutes.  Drain and top with a teensy bit of butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper

I've tagged this for the South Beach Diet, but it's for Phase 2 or 3--not Phase 1--due to the butternut squash.   Skip the potatoes, please, if you're South Beaching.

About Fennel:


Fennel is really an herb (think Italian sausage and those little tan, oval crunchy things in there), but we eat fennel bulb...(Italians call it finnochio) chopped fresh or cooked. It has a mild anise flavor and, while it doesn't take the place of celery or onions, is often used instead of them or cooked with them.  It's great in soups or sauteed up with some crushed red pepper and garlic for a topping on poultry or meat or, as I like, as an addition to an antipasti platter.  Raw, it's fresh and crunchy for a veggie platter and it's a tasty salad addition.

To prepare fennel for cooking (you may see it with or without its green, feathery "fronds"), you must cut off the fronds, peel the white bulb -- like you'd peel an onion-- and cut out a core that resembles a core in cabbage.  You can then slice the fennel bulb into moons or chop it and use as you wish.  The fronds are edible and be used as garnish or as you'd use dill... in sauces or soups.

Fennel is not absolutely essential to this meal; I just had some in the frig and thought it would be good. And it was!   If you don't have any, add a bit more onion to your mix before roasting.

You could make extra for lunch.  Why not?
Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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