Saturday, May 19, 2018


Mornings when I go into town for aerobics and shopping, I often park on the edge of the village in front of a strip of restaurants. At one end is a take-away roast-chicken joint. By the time I return to the car, the rotisseries are all fired up and the smell of herb-roasted fowl wafts up and down the street. It’s the most mouth-watering aroma imaginable. Roast chicken is irresistible, inevitable. 

The pleasure of a whole roast chicken! There will be leftovers! The chicken is stuffed with herbs and rubbed with garlic and pimentón before roasting. (The crispy bits are browned garlic.)

I tell myself that for the same price as la Gallega’s rotisserie chicken (a Galician woman is the roast-master)--€8.00 or about $9.45—I could buy a much larger free-range bird and roast it myself. Not the instant gratification, but a better deal in the long run.

The problem is that this week my family is away. It’s just me and a five-pound roast chicken. Will I be bored with chicken before the leftovers are gone?

Here’s how it’s going.

Roast chicken dinner for one--juicy thigh, pan-roasted carrots and potatoes. I'm not big on gravy, so I'm serving the chicken with mango chutney.

Leftovers! How many meals?

The chicken dismantled. I'll pick all the meat off the bones and use the carcass to make roast chicken broth, a base for soups.
The rewards! Chunks of chicken to add to my lunch salad.

Dinner on day two: chicken curry with coconut milk and mango. I used the meat from the other roasted thigh. The sauce is made with black mustard seed, fresh ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry powder and tomatoes.

Roast-chicken soup for lunch the following day. I added shredded spinach to the broth along with the cut-up roast potatoes and carrots and scrappy bits of chicken picked off the bones.

Dinner, day three. A quarter chicken breast sliced and served with mujammara walnut sauce and taboulleh salad made with bulgur. (Recipe for the walnut sauce is below.)

Day four: spicy Moroccan tagine with chicken legs, salty preserved lemon, olives, carrots and zucchini.

A lunch dish for one or starter for two--orange, chicken, olive and onion salad, an adaptation of a Spanish recipe, remojón. (Recipe below.)

Day five: Asian noodles with chicken and cashews. The last of the chicken breast is added to a stir-fry of vegetables, and served with rice noodles or zucchini noodles, topped with a hot and tangy dressing. (Recipe below.)

Day six. Only some shredded meat from the chicken wings left to go in this spicy Mexican tortilla soup. I wasn’t going to open a packet of corn tortillas for a single serving, so I substituted a few corn chips from a snack pack.With diced avocado, radishes, scallions and sliced jalapeño peppers, the soup makes a fun meal.

Roast Chicken, Home Style
Pollo Asado Casero

1 large roasting chicken (5 pounds)
Freshly-ground black pepper
Sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
1 bay leaf
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon smoked pimentón (paprika)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Carrots and potatoes (optional)

Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper, inside and out. Leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Remove chicken from the fridge. Push sprigs of herbs and bay leaf inside the chicken’s cavity. Juice ½ lemon and reserve the juice. Cut remaining half in wedges and place inside the chicken.

Crush the garlic with pimentón, lemon juice and oil. Rub this mixture all over the chicken’s skin. Tie the legs together close to the body. Place in a roasting pan and allow the chicken to come to room temperature, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place chicken in the oven for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350ºF. After 30 minutes, add carrots and potatoes, if using. (Coat them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before adding to the roasting pan.) Roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF when tested with an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. (A 5-pound chicken will need approximately 1 ½ hours total roasting time.)

Remove chicken to a cutting board and allow it to set 10 minutes before carving.

Mujammara Walnut Sauce
Salsa de Nueces

Mujammara walnut sauce to serve with chicken or as a dip.

 Mujammara is a Turkish sauce of roasted red peppers and walnuts that reminds me of Catalan romesco. My version is an adaptation easily made in a food processor with canned piquillo peppers. It’s gorgeous with sliced chicken and goes well with kebabs and grilled fish. Use it as a dip with bread sticks or vegetable dippers.

The recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce, more than is needed for one serving of chicken. Keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Piquillo peppers for sauce.
½ cup walnuts
1 (185-gram/ 6 ½ -oz) can piquillo peppers
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon hot pimentón or pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Grind the walnuts in a mini food processor. Add the piquillo peppers, garlic, cumin, pimentón, lemon juice and salt. Blend to make a thick paste. Blend in the oil to make a smooth sauce. 

Chicken and Orange Salad with Olives
Remojón con Pollo y Aceitunas

Chicken instead of cod in this Andalusian salad.

Remojón (also known as salmorejo or ensalada malagueña) is an exotic salad of oranges, olives, onions and salt cod. In this version, I’ve swapped chicken for the cod.

Use any kind of olive for this salad. Brine-cured black or purple ones are the most dramatic looking, but cracked green olives, pitted or not, are traditional with remojón salad.

Serves 2 as a starter or 1 as a main dish.

1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 small cooked potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling on salad
Salad greens
½ large orange, peeled and sliced
½ avocado, sliced
12 olives
Sliced red onion or scallions
Coarse salt
Chopped chives to garnish

Place the diced chicken in a bowl. Add the orange juice, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and quartered potatoes. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil. Cover and marinate the chicken, refrigerated, at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Drizzle with more oil.

Spread salad greens on one or two salad plates. Arrange the orange and avocado slices on the greens. Spoon the marinated chicken on top along with all of the marinade. Scatter olives and sliced onion on top of the chicken. Drizzle more olive oil over the salad. Sprinkle with coarse salt and chopped chives.

Asian Noodles with Chicken and Cashews
Fideos Estilo Asiatico con Pollo y Anacardos

This makes more sauce than needed for one serving. Refrigerate the sauce and use for steak, shrimp or tofu.

Serves 1.

3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons Asian fish sauce, such as nuoc mam
2 teaspoons Asian chile paste, such as sambal oelek
Sugar or stevia
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cashews
1 shallot, sliced
¼ red bell pepper, slivered
½ cup cooked green beans
1 cup diced cooked chicken
½ cup boiling water
Cooked rice noodles or zucchini noodles
Mint leaves
Basil leaves
Cilantro leaves
Grated Carrot

In a heat-proof bowl combine the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, chile paste and sweetener. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Toss the cashews in the oil until they are golden. Remove them and reserve. Add the shallot and bell pepper to the skillet and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add the green beans and toss them with the shallots. Add the chicken and cook until heated.

Stir the boiling water into the garlic-lime-chile paste. Place the noodles in a bowl. Top with the heated chicken. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the garlic-chile sauce on top. Scatter a few mint, basil and cilantro leaves on top. Add a grating of carrot. Scatter cashews over all. Serve hot, warm or cold.

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  1. Thank You Janet for these wonderful recepies!
    I will make them all.
    Creativity with a roasted chicken.
    The walnut sauce is wonderful,and so easy to make.
    Your books are the best !

    1. Snowqueen: Thanks for your nice words. Glad you are enjoying the recipes. They take that chicken right around the world!