ORANGE-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH CREAMY POLENTA

With the cool and windy weather on the outskirts, I decided to fire-up my oven for a comforting meal. Had all the ingredients on hand and decided to make an orange-roasted chicken with onions.

The Florida  oranges were at their peak and ready to be had. So, I sliced and placed them on my chicken thighs and drumsticks that were previously seasoned with crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.

ORANGE-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH ONIONS
ORANGE-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH ONIONS

Chicken was roasted for approximately 45 minutes at a temperature of 365 degrees fahrenheit. The orange slices released its citrusy juice which was absorbed by chicken parts. An orange glaze was placed on chicken. This consisted of a little ketchup and a sprinkle of sugar and of course freshly squeeze orange juice.

An  additional 10 minutes was given to cooking time at an increased temperature of 400 degrees.  This move provided a brown exterior to chicken and caramelized orange slices and onions.

No chicken should stand solo. Thus, I served orange chicken with a creamy polenta simmered in coconut milk. I also tossed in  a few  loose crispy corn and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

POLENTA WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
POLENTA WITH PARMESAN CHEESE

In addition, I served dish with  garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli.

 

MY SPUDS WERE HEADING FOR A NOSEDIVE….#CHEESY/HERBY/ROASTED DISH CAME TO MIND

Had a few Irish potatoes. They were the lonely left-overs from the past holidays. I’m surprised they’ve lasted all this time. But, at some point, I noticed them sprouting as if to say “Hello, I see you’ve forgotten us over here!” I know; I know, I’ve been bad, ignoring them thinking they would add inches for the new year.

But, I realized at some point, I’ve to face reality. Enough of this nonsense! I somehow forgot about my motto, “a fine balance”.  So, I fetched my potatoes and peeled them and cut them in circles (about an inch thick). I stuck them in the microwave for approximately three minutes to give a jump-start with the cooking process.

On a sheet pan, I sprayed Pam. I then drizzle a little oil on my potatoes pieces, pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano, and thyme. I rubbed potatoes down and spread all the goodness. In a 380 pre heated oven I placed the tray.

Sliced potatoes ready for oven
Sliced potatoes ready for oven

I roasted my potatoes for approximately 40 minutes (turning once). Then, I gave them an additional 2 minutes under the broiler with finely chopped parsley and some parmesan cheese.

I served my oven-roasted cheesy/herbal spuds with a fried egg along with little pieces of microwave steamed broccoli. I garnished with a little left-over parsley.  The whole dish was super divine. Thank God I didn’t allow my spuds to take an entire nosedive.

 

THIS SHEPHERD’S PIE IS NO MARLARKEY….IT COULD MAKE YOU DO THE RIVERDANCE

Shepherd’s pie is a popular Irish dish. Traditionally, the dish is cooked with lamb or mutton (goat’s meat). However, in many households across the globe, cooks have placed their personal touch and have substituted the lamb/mutton for chopped beef or some other meat.

Over the years, I do think I must have cooked this well-loved Irish dish at least half a dozen times. My first experience was a teenager in Home Economics class (high school) ‘many moons’ ago. Hmm, the taste was mouth-watering for me and my peers. By the way, I was taught to cook with chopped beef.

In the latter years as an adult, I cooked it on a few other occasions. My ‘guinea pigs’ were elated with the finishing dish on all occasions. Strangely enough, I’ve not cooked the dish for many years. So, a few days ago when I saw Carla Hall on The Chew putting her spin on the good old Irish dish, it brought back memories. As such, I decided to make my very own shepherd’s pie.

Clearly, there are different variations to the dish. Carla did hers with a crust at the bottom. I’ve never seen it done that way; however, it looked very delicious.  In the past, I prepared mine with chopped beef without the crust; and so I made my way to the grocer. Guys, I’m not a big meat person. I guess that’s why I was not cognizant of the price of beef. The cost for a small package of chopped beef was through the roof.

I’m telling you guys, I was certainly taken aback with the astronomical cost of beef. After I recovered I decided to forego the chopped beef. I immediately went rogue. I decided on an amalgamation of two worlds. Yes guys, I made a decision to use Italian (mild) sausages. It’s like Antoinnetta meeting Patrick.

Ingredients:

  • Italian (mild) sausages (2or3)
  • Chicken broth
  • Medley of veggies (carrot,celery,bell peppers,onions,scallion,thyme,garlic)
  • Corn starch (for thickening)
  • Salt/black pepper
  • Basil (dried)
  • Irish potatoes (4)
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Milk (whole milk)
  • Olive oil

Method:

And so, there it was, I arrived home and fetched my three firm Italian sausages from the freezer. After a quick defrost, I gently snip the casing from each beautiful specimen. I then squeezed the slightly salty goodness in a hot and waiting skillet. I browned them and set aside. The excess oil was removed from the skillet and a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that I placed a diced medley of veggies like carrot, celery, onion, bell peppers and garlic to the pan.

Next, I added a dusting of cornstarch so as to thicken and create a sauce. After the flour was browned, I added a little chick broth and stirred.  Fresh thyme and dried seasoning were then added. Oh, the aroma in my dwelling was out of this world. Under low heat, I returned the browned sausage pieces to the skillet and placed a lid on.

After a mouth-watering and reduced consistency was created I placed my creation in a glass baking dish. Already, my mouth was salivating in a huge way. It was time guys; it was time to collide the two worlds. At that point, I used my spatula to slather on the smooth, creamy and delicious mashed potatoes. I then sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on top with a very light drizzle of olive oil. The dish was placed in a 375 degree heated oven for about 10 minutes in order to set. Then, it was placed under a hot broiler for approximately six minutes for a brown and slightly crispy top.

Conclusion:

Guys, the finished dish was unbelievable. The potato topping came out crusty, but, when I dug beneath with my spoon (yes, I had to use a spoon) I was greeted with a gush of succulent mix of sausage and veggies all mingled into one. Oh, what beautiful union! My palate was thankful.  I did a happy River dance in my head. I was super happy.