Monday, May 11, 2009

Autumn Chicken Dish

Originally uploaded by haydnfj
I recently trawled through NPR's feature on meals under US$10. NPR nerds (like myself) posted recipes that are easy on the budget, which is very important in these trying economic times.

There were lots of hearty, bean and rice Latin dishes. There was a very bizarre tuna + brown rice + gravy recipe that a couple posted saying they still eat it 30 years after they made it one night when they were young, poor and a'courting.

But the Autumn Chicken Dish seemed like a nice combination of flavour, substance and simplicity. I endeavored to do this one myself. The first challenge arose with the very crucial ingredient of herbs de provence -- pretty much the flavor component of the dish. H insisted it must be a spice that Americans give a French sounding name, but I think it's just one that you either find at the cornershop or end up searching all over town for. We opted for Italian Herbs instead.

It is definitely a dish for autumn. It cooks for good long while, filling the house with a nice aroma on a dark Saturday night. And with the sweet potatoes and garlic cloves, you sort of just feel like sitting on the couch afterward and not venturing too far. That's just what we did.

Here's the recipe in full:
Autumn Chicken Dish

4 chicken legs, w/ bone, skin
2 yams, peeled, cut 1/4" slices
1 eggplant, cut in 1/4" slices
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves (or to taste), peeled, cut in 1/2
2 tbs herbes de provence
salt & pepper to taste

(All baking temps & times are approx. depending on your oven.)
Pre-heat oven to 425 deg F. Place oven rack in middle position.

Lightly coat roasting pan with olive oil. In pan, mix yams, eggplant, garlic, 1-2 tbs of herbs de provence, & 2-3 pinches of salt & pepper with 1-2 tbs of olive oil. All the yam & eggplant slices should be coated. Next, as best you can lie slices down flat.

Lightly season both sides of each leg w/ salt, pepper, & herbs de provence. Place each seasoned leg, skin side down, on top of the veggies in the roasting pan.

Bake for 20 mins, then turn over each leg & veggies over. Bake for 15 more mins or until juices run clear. Then increase oven temp to 500 deg & bake for 5-10 mins or until chicken skin is golden brown. Keep an eye on your chicken so it won't burn.
When done, place chicken & veggies on separate plate to rest for 5-10 mins, then serve.

I'm not sure the picture does the dish justice, but it really was good home cookin'.