18 January 2011
Spice Rack Challenge – Remembering Rosemary
This year I’m planning on participating in The Spice Rack Challenge – after all, it’s local! :^) The challenge this month is rosemary. Rosemary is for remembrance, so this seems like a good way to start the year: brushing up our memory for the taste of summer (maybe it’s just me, but I consider rosemary to be a summer taste), piqueing our memory to experiment with spices for the rest of year, or just doing what Mom said :^)
One of my most common uses for rosemary is with roasted potatoes: toss potato chunks or slices with rosemary (fresh or dried, whatever you have on hand), and salt. Roast in a 400 or 450 oven until they’re done. Feel free to toss in some feta chunks for the last few minutes. But I didn’t make those potatoes since the challenge was issued, so it doesn’t count.
Here are two rosemary dishes I did make:
The first was inspired by some tomatoes-on-the-vine that I needed to use up. Why tomatoes when the ground is covered with snow? Visiting relative insisted on buying them, then didn’t use them all up herself. ‘Nuff said. I chopped one tomato, tossed it with some salt and a tablespoon of dried rosemary, then put that in the pan to cook with the regular proportions of couscous and water. Delicious and easy, plus it salvaged an otherwise insipid tomato!
A few days later, I made an orange-rosemary roasted chicken. The directions are a bit vague because I didn’t write it down at the time, but this is less a recipe than an approach anyway. I roasted mine in a clay pot (which we won in a raffle at a charity auction and now treasure), but the method can be adapted to however you roast chicken. For what it’s worth, I was using up some clementines that were looking a bit dodgy (squishy and on the edge of fermentation).
Orange Rosemary Chicken
3 clementines or other tangerines, peeled and sectioned
2 (or more!) cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 (2-inch?) springs of fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
chicken to roast
clay pot for roasting
1. Chop or press the garlic and put in a small bowl with the olive oil and salt. Add half the rosemary. Chop one of the clementines into small pieces, and add to the olive oil mixture. Squish it around to get some juice out.
2. Rub the olive oil – rosemary – orange mixture all over the chicken, and put some under the skin if you’ve mastered that technique. Sprinkle with additional salt if you feel led.
3. Put the remaining oranges and rosemary inside the cavity. Toss in a few more garlic cloves if you love garlic.
4. Roast the chicken. (For our clay pot, we put the pot into a cold oven which then gets turned on to 450F. Bake for about an hour, then remove lid and roast uncovered 5 to 10 minutes more to brown skin.)
The chicken came out quite fabulous. Neither the rosemary nor the orange was overpowering but definitely added flavors and aromas to the chicken. I used the drippings and the carcass to make chicken stock and then chicken noodle soup – and wow, was that tasty! Again, the flavorings were not readily identifiable, but the stock had a really interesting taste. I’ll be doing this again.