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Not Yo Mama’s Roasted Chicken

10 Apr

You ever get sick of eating? Sometimes, and this is weird because clearly I love LOVE love eating, I just get sick of eating.  I’ve decided that my occasional disinterest in food generally correlates to a lack of creative outlet in my life.  This is not rocket science, I realize that.  Right?  When we’re lacking in passion or creativity in one aspect of our lives it permeates the rest of our lives?  You ever notice that? At work, I find myself buried under paperwork and scheduling and emails and if I’m not careful, the lack of creativity that comes from that kind of work can just suck the life out of everything else (thus the reason for this blog).  I notice this the most around shabbat dinner prep time.  Usually, I start planning the menu around Wednesday so we can go shopping on Thursday evening.  But, those days when all I want to make is salad, roast a chicken and call it a day usually means the creative passion needs a good kick in the pants.  So, last shabbat, that kick in the pants was to liven up said roast chicken.

The husband and I recently made a trip out to Teaneck, NJ to visit the family and ended up stocking up on some of our most favorite items at Trader Joe’s (a wonderful grocery store with a surprising amount of kosher options).  Now granted, Miami has it’s fair share of kosher grocery stores but food is crazy expensive in Florida so a chance to stock up at TJ’s was not to be missed.  One of the items we purchased was their sun dried tomatoes.  Delicious.  So, when the following shabbat came around, armed with chicken and said sun dried tomatoes, I set out to make sundried tomato pesto roast chicken and damn, was it good.

Ready for the oven

Now, let’s keep it real, this is not the most difficult recipe in the world.  But, I figured, with Passover right around the corner and the daunting task of making food taste good and interesting without beans, wheat, corn, etc., I figured I’d share.  The secret to this recipe is freshness and the even spread.  When you’re spreading the sun dried tomato mixture into the chicken, you’re gonna have to get over yourself get in there–I mean get under that skin nice and good.


  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 (5-pound) whole chicken
  • How?

    1. In a food processor, pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper a few times until coarsely chopped. With processor running, slowly add olive oil until combined.
    2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
    3. Place chicken in a roasting pan. Completely cover with pesto, lifting skin on top of breast and rubbing underneath the skin as well. Loosely cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast for about 1 hour.***
    4. Carve into pieces and serve.

    ***I got in there and basted a little bit even though the recipe did not call for basting.  I have a very strong fear of dried out chicken (dried out chicken and heights–what are ya gonna do!?).  I’m not sure this is necessary but the chicken was super juicy and delicious.

    Rub-a-Dub Chicken

    6 Mar

    While we’re on the subject of delicious recipes from our mothers, I have to share the love brought to us by Rub Dub Chicken.  Now, technically it is actually courtesy of the New York Times, but, my mother-in-law is the glorious woman who put it together so lovingly so I attribute it to her.  I experienced my first bite of Rub Dub Chicken at my in-laws house during our week of sheva brachot in New Jersey.  I took a bite and was in heaven.  It’s the kind of chicken whose juice you slop up with your challah and everything else you got on your plate.  The sides are just decoration compared to this delectable chicken.  And the best part? It’s the easiest recipe for roast chicken I have ever come across.  It requires nothing but the mixing of spices and well, the rubbing of it into the chicken.  My father-in-law told me that the secret to its juiciness lies in the 2-3 hours it needs to marinate and the brown sugar mixture, which brings out its natural juices.  Whatever it is, its good and is officially a shabbat dinner staple in our household.

    Spices ready for rubbin'

    Now, because the juice and flavor is so strong and delicious, I highly recommend sides like Israeli couscous and/or roasted new potatoes with some roasted veggies or something like that. Seriously, let this baby be the star of your dinner.  I mean, you wouldn’t put Patti on the same stage as Barbra, would you?  Wait . . . would you!?!?!

    Rub Dub Chicken


    1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds)
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon brown sugar


    Combine all ingredients together. Rub chicken thickly and well all over, under skin too, using the entire rub. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place seasoned chicken on rack. Roast for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue cooking, about another 30 minutes, basting with any drippings frequently, until meat registers about 180 degrees? Let sit for 10 minutes before carving.

    Sweet, delicious rub dub chicken.

    It’s All in the Sauce

    5 Mar

    I love my mother’s hot wing recipe.  I love my mother’s hot wing recipe so much in fact that when I was a    first year in college, she came to visit me at school for parents’ weekend and her carry-on luggage was in fact a cooler of wings.  Family legend has it that mom got the recipe from a shoes salesman at a department store in Atlanta.  I mean, of course she did.  Who else would have a delicious hot wing recipe but a shoe salesman from Atlanta?  Now, we all know that hot wings are traditionally best enjoyed with a side of blue cheese dressing.  However, when I decided to go kosher the blue cheese had to be left behind.  It was the most challenging decision of my life. I mean, my childhood is scattered with memories of mixing wing sauce with roasted new potatoes, corn nibblets and blue cheese sauce and just loving every second of it.  In fact, I loved the taste so much I used to just snack on side of corn, blue cheese and hot sauce (how is it I’m not 500 pounds?!).  What can I say, it’s the Southerner in me just coming on out.  Anyway, long story short–I love wings and I continue to make them regardless of the loss of blue cheese though this time, I made a little experiment for a dipping sauce that isn’t the real thing but, close enough.

    Wings fresh from the grill waiting for their delicious hot sauce.


    Happy wings swimming in sauce

    Ingredients for the Wings:

    Family pack o’ chicken wings
    Kosher salt

    Wash the wings.  Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl.  In a small bowl mix together the paprika, pepper and salt. and sprinkle spice mixture over the wings until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.  Meanwhile, get your grill going.  Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Place the wings over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Move the wings to the hot side of the grill and continue to cook until the skins have crisped, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the wings to a bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss to coat evenly. Remove wings to a bowl.

    For the Hot Sauce*:

    1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
    2 Table spoons margarine (I like to use Earth Balance but make sure it is Parve and doesn’t have a D by it for dairy if you’re going kosher)
    Cayenne Pepper (to taste – add a little at a time)
    2 – 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
    1 – 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

    Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat on a low light until margarine has  melted, stirring occasionally. Pour over chicken wings.

    *Please note the that recipe for hot sauce will vary depending on how much sauce you want and how hot you want it. I like the tanginess the Worcestershire sauce brings and the sweetness of the brown sugar.  At this point, I don’t measure, just combine to my liking.

    Parve Blue Cheeze Dipping Sauce

    Dash of garlic powder
    1 cup or more of mayonnaise or veganaise (either would work)
    Juice of half a lemon
    1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
    * Crumbled extra firm tofu if you want that chunky blue cheese feeling


    In medium size bowl, mix all ingredients except the tofu.

    You have to be the judge of this recipe and taste as you go…this is the best advice I can give you. The vinegar and lemon juice give it tang, so use them sparingly. I start out with little splashes (like a teaspoon at a time of each!) and just taste until I achieve the taste I want.

    Mix until it’s a nice, smooth consistency.



    Ready for enjoying.


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