I’m back! Sorry I’ve been gone and away but I had a new knee replacement on 2/28. I’m not going to lie to you and say the last three weeks have been easy, they haven’t. The surgery went well and I have a fabulous new knee that I can tell is going to take me on all kind of adventures, but the recovery was a roller coaster ride with many unexpected twists and turns.
Before going into surgery I was having a fantastic time with the new paleo/primal cookbook, “Well Fed” by Mellissa Joulwan. (Joulwan also has a great blog over here.) I am a confirmed cookbook nut so it takes a lot to impress me. I like something different and with recipes that are going to be something I won’t think of on my own. In both of those regards “Well Fed” delivers.
I love Joulwan’s fresh and modern format in her cookbook. The recipes are presented in such a way it is easy to approach for beginner cooks but creative enough to keep the seasoned cook entertained. I was also impressed with her ideas on how to prep with minimal effort on your day off, for a week of healthy eating; no matter how busy you are. The other impressive thing about this cookbook was the fantastic use of spices! Wow! I am a spice freak and “Well Fed” blends its spices in innovative and delicious ways to get the flavors to pop.
The down points to this cookbook is that the binding is very poorly done and it is expensive. I had this book a mere two weeks and have hardly abused it yet and the pages have started to fall out. I read on Amazon where other buyers have had the same problem. One buyer suggested taking the book to Office Max where he got it re-bound for $3 into a spiral notebook. Great idea. I will surely do that when I am mobile again. There are also quite a few typos in the book and Joulwan offers corrections to print here.
One recipe that drew me in like a moth to light, did not disappoint. With a name like “The best Chicken you will ever eat” the bar was pretty high. Chicken happens to be one of my long standing favorite foods, and I roast a wicked one so I was curious to see if the recipe lived up to its name. I loved it and so did my husband. I can’t say it is the best chicken I have ever had, but it is pretty darn delish! I did not use chicken breasts like Joulwan suggested but instead used a whole chicken cut up, and baked it instead of grilled. (I get my chickens from a small farm that has pasture raised chickens, which only come whole.) Have fun and let me know what you think. It is good to be back. I have missed you all.
The Best Chicken Ever with Roasted Roots
2 cloves of garlic crushed
8 cups of cold water
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
½ tablespoons of coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
1 fat pasture raised whole chicken
1 large of each, beet, parsnip, onion, sweet potato and 2 carrots, cut into 1 “ pieces
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of ground curry
½ tablespoon of chili powder
½ tablespoon of ground allspice
½ tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
3 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
For the brining; As Joulwan says, “You will think this step is not necessary. You will, perhaps, find it too fussy. Ignore those feelings and put your chicken in the salty spa. Trust.” Cut up your chicken, however you want. I like to cut mine in half. Mix all the brine ingredients into large pot and stir until the salt dissolved. Add some ice to bring the brine temperature down then add your chicken to the brine, making sure the whole thing is submerged. (If you can’t get the chicken into the brine cut it into smaller pieces.) Joulwan suggests the use of a gallon zip lock bag to brine in. I try to use plastic as little possible and feel that the chicken brines better in a pot. Place the pot in the fridge and brine for 2-6 hours.
While the chicken is brining, mix up everything from the spice mix but the coconut oil, in a small bowl. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine and place in a large rectangular glass baking dish. Sprinkle the root veggies around the chicken. (If there are too many to fit in the dish, place the rest in a separate baking dish and bake along with the chicken.) Dived the spice mix in half and mix half of it with half the coconut oil. Spread the spice mix with the coconut oil over the chicken. (The best way to do this is by hand!) Then sprinkle the rest of the spice mix over the veggies, drizzling with the rest of the coconut oil, and toss together. Bake chicken and roots in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, till done. Don’t over bake or you will have dried ole chicken. Enjoy!