Wow, I can't believe it's been over a year since my last blog post! Time sure does fly. I've decided that it's time to get back in the saddle now that all the wedding craziness is over, with more of a focus on our cooking, baking, and eating adventures. To kick it off, let's start with last night's dinner!
Working from home allows me to have more of a flexible schedule, so I'm actually able to roast a chicken during the week instead of just on the weekend when we typically have more time for dinner prep. So last night I made a roast chicken, mushroom and caramelized leek risotto, and sauteed kale.
For the roast chicken, I loosely followed the Williams-Sonoma Brined Roast Chicken recipe. I brined the chicken using their ratio, but also added a tablespoon of sugar. For the actually roasting, I seasoned the butter with chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. We had fresh thyme and parsley, so that's what we used inside the chicken, but I wish I had chopped some up to add to the butter. We've done that in the past and it makes the skin so delicious. In addition to the thyme and parsley, we also put onion, celery, and lemon in the cavity of the chicken. We roasted according the recipe, but I'm not sure we would do that again. Flipping the chicken that many times caused the skin to rip in a few spots. Next time we will probably do what we did the last time we roasted a chicken - start with the breast side down and roast ~45 minutes, then flip to breast side up. This allows the thigh meat to cook properly without the breasts overcooking.
For the mushroom and caramelized leek risotto, I followed this Caramelized Leek Risotto recipe and made a few additions.
I added the mushrooms (5 larger cremini, chopped) when the leeks were almost done caramelizing. I happened to have a parmesan rind in our fridge, so I added that when I started adding the broth, but that's definitely not necessary. And you can very easily make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Instead of chives at the end, I used parsley, about 1/4 cup, and also added lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon. I really loved the lemon flavor, especially with the roast chicken, but I think Nik thought it was a little too lemony. Also, we wanted this risotto to be a little runnier than how I usually make it, so I used 4 cups of broth. But I think 3 1/2 would have been perfect.
For the kale, this Bobby Flay recipe is pretty much how we cooked our kale this time. We used one bunch of kale and roughly chopped our garlic instead of slicing it, and we didn't add the vinegar at the end. We've added vinegar in past and it really does add a nice flavor and balance to the kale. Sometimes we add crushed red pepper too.
Here's how it all turned out (delicious!):