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Tuscan Chicken with Fennel, Red Onions, and Pancetta

I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count! It is absolutely delicious, easy as pie, and the perfect dish when you’re looking for a good midweek meal or you need to feed a crowd. The ingredients can easily be swapped around too – feel free to try carrots and potatoes instead of fennel and onions, or any other combination of your favourite vegetables. I always use the chicken thighs though as they manage to stay moist and juicy during the long roasting time while chicken breasts run the risk of drying out. I serve this with a wild rice or quinoa side, but any grain/starch you like will do.

Serves 8

Marinade

  • 16 chicken thighs
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 inches fresh rosemary sprig
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

The night before cooking, place garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until a paste is made. Place chicken and paste in a ziploc bag and massage until the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate overnight.

Making the dish

  • 4 bulbs fennel, cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
  • 3 large red onions, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
  • 8 oz pancetta, cut roughly
  • 8 cloves garlic, split
  • 2 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cups coarsley chopped fennel leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a low-sided roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken and vegetables in a single layer, spread the ingredients out with chicken skin side up. Dab the chicken with any seasoning rub that may be left in the ziploc. Scatter the vegetables, pancetta, fennel seed, half the fennel leaves, and garlic amongst the chicken. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes basting with juices half way through.

Pour in wine and roast another hour, basting and turning chicken and veg periodically. Add a little bit of water if the juices look as if they are beginning to burn.

Raise the heat to 450 degrees and roast for 15 minutes with the chicken skin side down. Turn over to skin side up and roast for final 15 minutes or until the chicken is a deep golden brown.

Garnish dish with freshly cut fennel leaves and serve.

 

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Faith Peckham - March 26, 2014 - 8:39 pm

2 hour cooking time for chicken thighs? I can’t believe they don’t dry out. I’ve never cooked chicken pieces that long but I’ll give it a try.

Ginger Raisin Muffins

With spring break upon us we have the perfect opportunity to get the little ones (and the not so little ones) into the kitchen for some hands on fun. In my experience, children really love the art of baking – the measuring and mixing makes for fun, busy work and teaches them some great math skills at the same time. These muffins come together really quickly and are a healthy and delicious snack that the kids can feel proud they made and you can feel good about them eating. For an extra special treat, serve with sweet butter and our Three Fruit Marmalade!

ginger muffinsMakes 1 dozen

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 cup whole wheat Flour
  • 1 cup organic white flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger, ground
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Mix milk & molasses together. In a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, cream butter, sugar, and salt together. Add the milk & molasses – mix to combine. Mix in whole wheat flour.

Sift together white flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir the raisins & candied ginger into the dry ingredients. Pour in liquid ingredients and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVER STIR.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes. Seved warm they are extra yummy!

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County Cork Stew

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and in celebration I’ll be making one of the classics in the Irish repertoire. The Emerald Isle is well know for its quality beef as well as its love of slow-cooking: this recipe incorporates both. It is rich and thick and deliciously meaty, so I have chosen not to add in the carrots, peas, and potatoes that often adorn the dish, but by all means do if you love it this way – just add them in about at about the 2 hour simmer mark as you don’t want them to be too overcooked. But for me the meat, onions, and wine form the perfect marriage and need nothing more than some old fashioned Quick & Easy Irish Soda Bread to make it complete. Bottoms up and sláinte mhath!

 country cork stewMakes 8-10 servings

  •  5# beef, cubed ½ – 1” (top round works well for this)
  • 2  large onions, minced
  •  2/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 tsp. brown sugar
  •  sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups merlot  wine
  • 2 1/2 cups demi-glace – beef or veal stock reduce by 1/2
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 tsp mixed herbs – thyme, basil, rosemary

In a large Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, sauté the onions in 1/3 cup of the oil. Season with salt & pepper. Once the onions are soft, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Toss the beef in the flour and shake off the excess. Sear the beef in batches – do not crowd the pan. Once the cubes have been browned on all sides, remove to a plate to hold. Continue until all the beef is browned.

Add the beef back into the pan along with the onions and all remaining ingredients. Simmer covered until fork tender – about 3 hours. Uncover and turn the heat up to reduce and thicken the sauce.

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Danielle Foreman Acken - March 16, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Making this!!

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