Friday, December 30, 2016

Cast Iron Cooking- Roast Chicken with Herbs and Mushrooms with Sinful Food

Let's talk food trends for a few minutes, shall we? We have all seen some of the current ones and that's not where I'm going right now. Instead, I'm seeing a big trend in returning to some of the great basics. Classic dishes. Familiar preparations. Flavors that bring great memories. Chicken seems to be one of those trends that are super hot right now and especially roast chicken. I love roast chicken. Seriously love it. I could eat roast chicken and roast chicken leftovers pretty much daily and not complain. The leftovers are so incredibly versatile and the roast chicken itself is such a luscious comfort food and with so many herbs, spices and other flavors to enhance it, the boring roast chicken of years ago is long gone.

What does this mean? It means that you guys are going to see a few lovely roast chickens in the coming weeks. You see, I have been reading about chicken a lot. Watching cooking videos and demonstrations to try and figure out some new flavor combinations. Experimenting with different cooking vessels and different temperatures, to baste or not to baste, stuffed and unstuffed. Talking with other cooks and chefs and learning as much as I can about the humble little chicken.

Tonight's chicken was inspired by a cooking video, shared by Bon Appetit Magazine. I have added some of my own touches to customize the recipe but kept the basic bones of the recipe the same- roasting the chicken in cast iron on a bed of fresh mushrooms. The mushrooms roast underneath the bird and absorb all those amazing chicken juices, turning all rich and brown and crusty in places unlike any other mushroom and chicken recipe I have seen. The pearl onions just melt into caramelized heaven. Because the mushrooms take on all that delicious flavor you don't even need to worry about gravy- just toss together a fresh salad and serve with those flavorful mushrooms.

The real highlight of this dish has to be the wonderful garlic olive oil and Signature Seasoning from Sinful Food. I discovered Sinful Foods by way of a Christmas drawing online when I was picked as a winner. Sinful Food is the company founded by Chris Lee, a nutritional industry professional with over 22 years in the business, with an emphasis on blending ingredients. His business acumen and passion for healthy and delicious foods make his a true powerhouse. Chris tells me he spent lots of time with his mother in the kitchen, watching and soaking up everything she did and often helping prepare meals. His grandmother also was a very important influence in his interest in the culinary world, treating him to meals in upscale restaurants, introducing him to chefs and taking him on tours of some of the best restaurants. At a time when many young guys are interested in comic books and sports books, Chris chose a cookbook from the school book fair and headed home to launch his lifelong love of cooking. 

It's only natural that this love of cooking would lead to a desire to create exceptional ingredients and seasonings. Seasonings for meats were the first experiments and a seasoning mixture for salmon became his first success and because of it's versatility became the company's Signature Seasoning. It's delicious on all kinds of meats, fish, poultry and vegetables. Chris is expanding the business to include gourmet flavored olive oils, and gourmet chocolates and eventually coffees. Online ordering will be available soon as well. I know I am super excited to try the many different olive oils. The garlic is exceptional!

I used the garlic oil to toss the mushrooms and onions before roasting, as well as seasoning the bird and vegetables and used the oil in making the homemade rustic croutons. Talk about flavor! The garlic oil tastes like freshly minced garlic and is so light, just like you'd expect from a high end olive oil. I used the Signature Seasoning on the outside of the bird, tossed with the veggies, and sprinkled over the croutons. It's not simply a "seasoned salt", it's so much more. It highlighted the flavor of the fresh herbs and gave the croutons a great savory taste. These products are fantastic and highly recommended.

I used a mix of cremini and while mushrooms.
I had hope oysters or trumpets would be
available but they were not. Almost any
mushroom would work in this recipe.
Roast Chicken with Herbs and Mushrooms

1 3-4 lb roasting chicken
1 lemon
1 head garlic
small handful fresh thyme/parsley/chives (whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
pinch of rubbed dried sage or ground sage
Sinful Foods Signature Seasoning
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms
1 10oz package pearl onions, peeled
Sinful Foods garlic olive oil

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grab a large cast iron skillet and set aside. You will be roasting the bird and mushrooms right in the skillet.

Set the chicken on work surface. Cut the lemon in quarters, stuff two quarters inside the bird and reserve the other two. Cut the head of garlic in half crosswise. Reserve one half for another use. Cut the other half again in half and stuff in bird along with the fresh herbs.

In a small bowl combine the softened butter with the fresh thyme and sage. Rub all over the chicken surface. Season with Sinful Foods Signature Seasoning.

Clean and trim the mushrooms. Cut any large mushrooms into halves or quarters. Pile into cast iron skillet, drizzle with Sinful Foods garlic olive oil and season with Signature Seasoning. Place the chicken on top of the mushrooms, squeeze the reserved lemon quarters over all. Place in hot oven and roast for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest, tented with foil, for 30 minutes. While resting, toss together a quick salad with greens and herbs and a Dijon vinaigrette.

The croutons with the garlic oil and Signature Seasoning were
so delicious I ate all the leftovers for a snack!
Carve chicken and serve with mushrooms and onions and salad with croutons made from crusty bread.

If you cannot find pearl onions you can cut a couple large
yellow onions into wedges but I promise you, the pearl onions
make the difference. The melt into sweet bulbs of flavor
that burst in your mouth. Totally worth the trouble.
This chicken and those mushrooms are so flavorful and filling you will not miss having a starch on the side. For real, grab some zippy salad greens- baby lettuces and peppery arugula, maybe some bright radicchio, and a quick to mix Dijon vinaigrette and that's seriously all you need to have a lovely and impressive dinner that's great for everyday or entertaining.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free as part of a random drawing. There was no requirement of using the products and then providing written promotion. This post is entirely of my own writing. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe are of good quality and safe. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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