Friday, January 30, 2015

Shabbat Dinner- Easy Peasy

Tonight I'm going to recommend the easiest Shabbat dinner you might ever make.  So incredibly simple, you won't believe how good it tastes.

The Menu:
Roast Chicken
Roasted Vegetables
Pears & Cranberries for dessert

Let's start with the Roast Chicken.  Roasting a whole chicken can seem daunting, and while I've been able to cook one since college, it can be quite a process. That was until I got wind of the Buzzfeed Roast chicken contest.

If you haven't' checked this out, you are missing out on some of the best roast chicken knowledge that the Internets have to offer.  They compare the best of the best recipes, including Glamour chicken's engagement chicken, Julia Child's chicken and the Pioneer woman.  They follow the recipe exactly, and then compare the results.  And not only is the recipe that won the easiest, its obviously the best because it won.

So, let's break down Thomas Keller's roast chicken recipe.  Twine, a roasting rack, salt and pepper. 

Step 1: Dry the chicken inside and out

Step 2: Cover it with salt and pepper inside and out

Step 3: Truss your chicken.  It's easier than it sounds.  Click the link above to follow the photos- so easy.

Step 4: Put it on the rack and in the oven at 400degrees.

That's his recipe.  It's really that simple.  I hope you've been following along, but not that closely.  Because for our Shabbat dinner we're going to make a quick twist.  We're going to throw some potatoes, onions and brussel sprouts in the bottom of the roasting rack.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil and a bit of salt on top, then put the whole thing in the oven for about an hour.  You'll know it's done when the juices run clear and a thermometer reads 165.

On to dessert: Oven Pears in Simple Syrup.  The best part about this is that you prep it on the stove, then stick it into the oven when you start dinner.  You can't overcook it, you can't really screw it up.  Half it, double it, totally easy.  Also, totally parve, so it's easy with a dairy meal too.

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (I prefer fresh)
4 firm-ripe pears such as d'Anjou or Bose (about 2.5 lbs total)
1/2 rinsed lemon thinly sliced (ends discarded)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Step 1: Sort cranberries and discard stems and any bruised or decayed fruit. Rinse and drain berries. Peel pears: cut in half and core. In a 2- 2 1/2 quart baking dish, combine cranberries, pears and lemon slices.
I arrange the pears intermittent with the lemon slices and the cranberries, so it makes a pretty presentation when it comes out of the oven. It is also best to serve in the same dish that you bake it in. If you have a lot of people, you might have to double the recipe.
Step 2: In a 1-2 quart pan over medium high heat, stir sugar, vinegar, ginger,cinnamon,cloves and 1/2 cup water until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. (You can make this syrup the day ahead if need be). Pour over fruit. Cover dish tightly with foil. 
I often bring this to someone's house.  Put the pears in a dish ready to go and bring the liquid in a different container. Pour on top and put in the oven when dinner starts.
Step 3: Bake in a 350 degrees regular or convection oven until pears are tender when pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make it look pretty by arranging the lemons and the pears intermittent, along with the cranberries dotting the top.  If you make it in a nice dish, then you just serve it straight to the table.

So, there's your easy peasy dinner...

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