Who doesn’t love that song?
When I was casting about for a new and different take on Italian recipes in honor of Zen on Masterpiece Mystery, I came across several yummy ideas in my Better Homes & Garden “Simply Perfect Italian” magazine issue that intrigued me, and so I made mental notes to try them later.
One such recipe is for Roast Tarragon Chicken. But there were two hurdles for me. 1. I’m not a big fan of tarragon (I’m not a fan of the licorice, anise taste of it), but the recipe suggested that rosemary could be used instead…and we have a huge rosemary plant (it’s grown into a bush, actually) in our herb garden.
Yay! One objection solved!
The second problem is the “roast” part — the recipe has you baking it in a 375F oven. On cooler days — or, at least, on “not hot” days — that would be fine. But it has been unbelievably and miserably h-o-t this summer: no way do I want to use the oven. 😦
However, I think it will cook up quite nicely on our propane grill using indirect heat: only turn on the flame on one side of the grill, place the heavy-duty disposable aluminum pan with the food on the side of the grill without flame, and lower the cover. This will keep from overheating our house further, and we also won’t have to worry about standing in the heat to fuss with things on the grill — we’ll put it on and then forget about it until it’s done. 🙂 Edited to Add: Indirect heat was too little heat; I ended up having the grill on low, which seemed to work perfectly.
The recipe that inspired this dish calls for shallots, but I seldom have those, so I thought I would just cut an onion into wedges. But when I was at the store today (returning recalled ground turkey *sigh*), as I was meandering through the produce department, I saw something I’d never seen before — a package of cipollini onions. The package states that they are sweet and “good for roasting.”
So, I decided to splurge on them and give them a try, also, even though they’ll require a bit more work to prepare than simply cutting an onion into wedges (which would work great, too).
According to http://www.thekitchn.com:
Cipollini onions (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) were once a rare treat only to be found at fancy restaurants and the occasional gourmet market….
Their name literally means “little onion” in Italian, and indeed they are! Cipollinis are about the size of a golf ball with a slightly flattened appearance. They’re thin-skinned and have translucent white flesh with more residual sugar than your average yellow or white onion.
Which makes them incredible for roasting or caramelizing. Roasted whole in the oven or cooked in a little butter on the stove top, cipollinis become soft and practically melt in your mouth. Those residual sugars caramelize and concentrate, leaving behind none of the astringent raw onion flavor.
Seriously, you haven’t had caramelized onions until you’ve made them with cipollini onions. Even you onion-haters out there might be swayed!
The only downside to cipollinis is getting that thin skin off. We usually use a paring knife to pull off strips from root to stem. You can also boil the onions for a few seconds to loosen the skin. It’s a pain, but definitely worth it for the sweet onions beneath.
I also have some zucchini on hand, so I’m going to add that in, as well, and I’ll round the meal out with a nice, cool pasta salad (from a mix — it’s so hot, I want to keep things as simple as possible).
I just know this is going to smell — and taste! — so yummy that I’ll break into song. (Go on, give it a listen — you know you want to! Who doesn’t love this song?)
Roasted (or Grilled) Rosemary Chicken (Serves 4 to 6, depending upon appetites and amount of chicken — you can easily adjust number of servings up or down)
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of meaty pieces of bone-in chicken (a cut broiler/fryer will work; I’m using a package of bone-in chicken breasts)
- Olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoons — eyeball it)
- Healthy splash of white wine (whatever seems tasty to you), red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Salt (suggest sea salt) and coarse ground black pepper to taste
- Minced garlic to taste (or garlic powder)
- Fresh rosemary leaves, chopped OR dried rosemary, to taste
- Desired number of shallots, pearl onions, or cipollini onions, OR half to a whole red, yellow, or white onion cut into wedges
- Desired amount of fresh tomatoes, cut in half or quarters, OR a can (14 – 16 ounce) of diced tomatoes (reserve liquid from can)
- Zucchini (sliced into chunks or thick slices) (optional) OR whole or sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
- If desired, remove skin from chicken. (I almost always do — our dog considers it a lovely treat!)
- If using shallots, pearl onions, or cipollinis, bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanche desired amount of onions in the boiling water, then immediately drain away boiling water and fill pot with cool water. Once onions are cool enough to handle, remove skins.
- In a medium to large non-reactive bowl or the pan you’ll be baking/grilling in, whisk together olive oil, wine or vinegar (if using), salt and pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Add in onion, tomatoes (if using tinned tomatoes, add in the liquid from the tomato tin INSTEAD of the tomatoes), zucchini (if using), and/or mushrooms (if using). Toss gently.
- Remove vegetables from olive oil mixture and reserve.
- Arrange chicken in a single layer in baking dish. Pour olive oil mixture over all. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired.
- TO GRILL: Turn grill on low flame. Place the chicken (in an aluminum disposable pan) in thee grill. Cover and “bake” in grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Add reserved vegetables in with the chicken (sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired), cover grill, and “bake” for another 40 to 60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are desired tenderness.
- TO BAKE: Preheat oven to 375F. Bake chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add in reserved vegetables and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are desired tenderness.