Old Fashioned Sunday Dinner

Happy Father’s Day everyone!  I hosted the fam at my house for the traditional post-church Sunday dinner.  Nothing fancy here, but all good and with a lot of comfort and nostalgia included.  The menu this year was: roast chicken, carrots, potatoes, green beans with ham hocks, squash and onions (a major favorite of my 10-year-old niece), cucumber salad, rolls and banana pudding.  Everything came from the farmer’s market except the chicken (my apologies, I already had it in the freezer), the rolls (which I made) and the banana pudding.  No bananas at Virginia farmer’s markets, but my dad really likes banana pudding and since this was his dinner I made it.  Well, Jell-O pudding and I made it.  I just didn’t have the time to make homemade custard.

There is an art and a science to roasting a chicken.  Today I got the art right, but my science was a little askew.  A little salute to Julia Child for this one. (Just the part that went right.  The blunders were mine alone).  The chicken was beautiful.  Evenly brown and crispy all across the top.  And it smelled and tasted wonderful.  It also took about an hour longer than I planned so we ate really late.  Ugh.  Fortunately it’s a Sunday afternoon and no one had other plans so late was okay today, but it stresses me a little.

Here’s my advice.  Don’t mess with Julia.  She’s know whereof she speaks.  Had I done the chicken exactly as instructed it would have been beautiful AND on time.  Sadly I decided to roast a million potatoes in the pan with the chicken.  Seems like an efficient way to go about it.  Nope.  When you pack the roasting pan with a bunch of stuff it really slows down the cooking process.  I know, I know, “But the potatoes taste so good when you cook them with the chicken”.  So here’s what you do.  Put the potatoes in a separate Pyrex dish and baste them when you baste the chicken.  It will go much faster that way and taste just as good.

My real thoughts.  Simple food is really good and making homemade food is worth it.  It’s work, but there are lots of time/effort saving tricks that don’t included foods that come in cellophane wrappers.  Maybe I’ll put together a page on that some time.  I spent a lot of time putting this meal together.  Now, the kitchen is a happy place for me so I don’t mind that at all.  It helps that people who eat here, my family included, really appreciate the effort.  You know how I know that making homemade food is worth it?  My 13-year-old nephew finished his meal by saying, “Can Auntie Leanne cook for us all the time?”  Now that’s worth it.

No recipes for the sides.  Just think about how your grandmother would have done it.  Swap out the ham hocks for a little olive oil if you want.  Just don’t get fussy about it.  When you buy good food from local farmer’s it stands on its own.  There is a recipe for the chicken so I’m including it here.  I didn’t make the sauce. I decided to make regular gravy instead. Your choice.

Good? Yep.
Easy?Yes, just follow the instructions.
Good for company? Yes, there’s something really elegant about a roast chicken.
Special shopping? Nope.

Roast Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the chicken in hot water and dry thoroughly. Season the cavity with salt and black pepper and stuff with the onion, lemon, and celery leaves. Rub the chicken lightly with softened butter and season all over with salt and pepper. Tie the drumsticks ends together and set the chicken, breast side up, in an oiled v-shaped rack or on an oiled roasting pan in the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees, baste the chicken, and roast for 15 minutes. Add the chopped onion and carrot to the pan, basting them and the chicken. Continue roasting the chicken until the juices run clear, for a total of 45 minutes plus an additional 7 minutes for each pound. (In other words, a 3 1/2 pound chicken would take a basic 45 minutes plus an additional 25 minutes, for a total 70 minutes or 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking time.)

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One Response to “Old Fashioned Sunday Dinner”

  1. stephanie Says:

    sounds [and smells] wonderful!!

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