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Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter and Asparagus

Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter and Asparagus


Talk about a spring chicken. The sour-sweet rhubarb butter seasons and bastes the meat as the bird roasts.

Ingredients

  • 1 large rhubarb stalk, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3½–4-pound chicken, backbone removed, chicken patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring rhubarb, orange juice, honey, and ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Drain over a small bowl. Reserve cooking liquid and rhubarb separately; let cool.

  • Mix rhubarb and butter in a small bowl until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 Tbsp. rhubarb butter for vegetables.

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Gently slide your fingers underneath skin to loosen and rub flesh all over with remaining rhubarb butter (try not to tear skin). Drizzle chicken with 1 Tbsp. oil and some of the reserved rhubarb cooking liquid, scatter thyme over, and season with salt and pepper.

  • Roast chicken until skin is browned and crisp and meat is cooked through (juices will run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh should register 165°), 40−50 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, prepare grill for medium-high heat (or heat a grill pan over medium-high). Toss asparagus in a large bowl with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus and lemons (cut side down), turning asparagus often, until stalks are just tender, 2−3 minutes. Let lemon halves cool.

  • Toss asparagus with reserved rhubarb butter. Serve chicken and asparagus with any pan juices drizzled over with grilled lemons for squeezing over.

Recipe by Maranda Engelbrecht,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 790 Fat (g) 58 Saturated Fat (g) 23 Cholesterol (mg) 215 Carbohydrates (g) 17 Dietary Fiber (g) 3 Total Sugars (g) 12 Protein (g) 53 Sodium (mg) 160Reviews Section

Sheet Pan Rhubarb Chicken

Rhubarb and I go way back. When I first saw it in our home garden in Indiana, I was pretty sure it was some trick to get us to eat more celery, albeit prettier celery. Then, when my Mom put it in a pie, I had to wonder. Should I taste this celery pie? I do like pie. However, this was the same Mom that made a savory pot pie she called “Kidney Pie”, which my Dad could not have loved more. But me and my sibs, not so much. So, … there’s that.

Of course, as usual, Mom knew what she was doing. All it took was just one mind-blowing bite and I knew this rhubarb was something special. I just love that strong tang, so different from citrus, followed up with sweetness of the lovely red and green stalks. And, thankfully, she never did make that kidney pie again. Although we were always skeptical when Beef Pot Pie appeared on the table. Someone, most often my sister Beth, would ask “You didn’t put kidney in that, did you?”

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I was thrilled to find rhubarb in the grocery and promptly made a crisp. But the taste was … different. It was (disappointingly) milder. Huh! What’s up with that? Turns out, not surprisingly (!), different varieties of rhubarb just taste different. So take a look at the Rhubarb Compendium. Because, thank goodness, there IS a Rhubarb Compendium. You’ll see there are many varieties, each with its own size, coloring, and flavor profile.

So, now, I actually give the rhubarb a bit of a “smell test” to see if it has the aroma of the tart, tangy, and fresh flavor that I recall from my childhood. Maybe it’s just me, but I also feel like the later-harvested (June-July) varieties have a bit more flavor. But I can guarantee, this Sheet Pan Rhubarb Chicken with Broccolini is not lacking in any flavor at all! Rhubarb gives it a “punch” so pleasant, you’ll want it again and again!


Roast chicken – the all-time favourite

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Dietary information
Gluten-free (without gravy)

Main ingredients
Chicken, lemon

Sourced from
The Cook’s Companion App and book

This is the way I roast my chicken – with the vegetables around the bird. Chunks of parsnip, pumpkin, turnip and carrot and small onions are all good to add with the potato.

Ingredients

freshly ground black pepper

walnut sized piece of butter

2–3 red-skinned potatoes, quartered

mixed vegetables, cut into chunks

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

white wine, or vermouth, verjuice, stock or water

Method

An hour and a quarter before dinner, preheat oven to 220°C. Rub chicken vigorously inside and out with lemon. Crush garlic with the back of a knife, roll in salt and pepper and insert in cavity with lemon halves, rosemary sprig and butter. Put chicken into a large baking dish.

Put vegetables into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add a few rosemary leaves and oil and toss to coat. Scatter vegetables around chicken and massage its skin with the seasoned olive oil. Turn chicken on its side.

Place baking dish in centre of oven. After 20 minutes, turn chicken over onto its other side and carefully turn vegetables. After a further 20 minutes, turn chicken breast-side up, baste with juices, loosen vegetables and roast for another 20 minutes. (During this final cooking time, dry and dress a large green salad.)

Reduce oven temperature to 160°C. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a heatproof plate and rest in oven. Discard all fat from baking dish and deglaze over heat with wine. Stir vigorously to dislodge all the cooked-on good bits, and lengthen with either a little more wine or add some home-made stock or tomato sauce or cream. Joint chicken, arrange on a serving platter with vegetables and pour over juices.

short cut If you only have 45 minutes before dinner, cut the chicken in half down either side of the backbone using heavy scissors. (Reserve the backbone for stock.) Season and massage chicken as above. Put the garlic and lemon halves underneath the chicken in the baking dish. The vegetables will need to be cut smaller to cook in time (or forget roast vegetables and serve a salad and grilled eggplant or green beans). There will be no need to turn the chicken, although it should be basted with juices after the first 20 minutes.

gravy If you believe that chicken must have gravy, stir 1 tablespoon plain flour into the baking dish before deglazing. Wait until the flour is a good brown colour before adding 1 cup deglazing liquid and stirring very vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps. As an alternative to plain flour, mix 2 teaspoons flour to a paste with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.

roast chicken stock While you are clearing up, put the chicken carcass (together with neck, giblets and backbone, if reserved) in a saucepan with a sliced onion, carrot and bay leaf and barely cover with cold water. Add parsley stalks and celery if you have them. Simmer for an hour or so, then strain and chill overnight. The following day, pour the stock into ice-cream or ice-cube trays and freeze. The next time you roast a chicken, you will have some light stock to add flavour to the juices.


Asparagus and chive bread pudding

The ideal companion to roast chicken, though I can easily eat this on its own with some dressed green leaves alongside. Serves eight as a side dish.

1kg asparagus spears, woody ends removed
80g unsalted butter, diced and left at room temperature
1 clove garlic, crushed
40g chives, finely chopped
300g stale sourdough loaf, crusts on, cut into 0.5cm slices
5 medium eggs
300ml double cream
200ml full-fat milk
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and white pepper
200g feta, crumbled
20g parmesan, finely grated (or vegetarian alternative)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for one minute, until semi-cooked, drain, refresh under cold water and dry with a cloth. Put half the spears to one side and cut the others lengthways into two or three strips. Cut each strip into two or three segments, so you've got roughly 5cm-long, thin pieces.

Put the butter, garlic and 35g of chives in a small food processor bowl and blitz smooth. Spread this thinly over both sides of the bread.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the cream, milk, nutmeg, half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter-teaspoon of white pepper, and whisk.

Place a layer of buttered bread over the base of a 25cm x 32cm ovenproof dish, scatter the asparagus pieces on top and sprinkle over the feta. Top with the rest of the bread, pour over the custard and top with the whole spears. Press down the top with your hands, so all the bread is immersed in liquid, cover with cling-film and place a small tray on top weighed down with something heavy. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Remove the weight, tray and cling-film from the pudding dish, sprinkle the parmesan and the remaining chives over the top, and bake for 50-55 minutes (cover the dish with foil at the very end if it gets too dark). To check it's cooked, stick a knife into the centre and press gently – if no liquid comes to the surface, it is ready. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five to 10 minutes before serving.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to even thickness
  • 1 large bundle spears of asparagus
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lay four 12x12 inch squares of foil out on a flat surface. Place one chicken breast in the middle of each piece of foil.

Trim the flat end of the asparagus at 1-2 inches from the end and discard. Cut the remaining spears in half and divided them between the foil packs.

Thinly slice one of the lemons and divide the slices between the foil packs, tucking the slices in, around, and between the chicken and asparagus.

Stir together butter, garlic, juice of the remaining lemon, and Italian seasoning. Brush over chicken and asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Fold the foil over the chicken and asparagus to close off the pack, pinch the ends together so the pack stays closed.

Grill over medium-high heat for 7-9 minutes on each side. Alternatively, bake at 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is tender. Serve immediately.


Pucker Up With These 9 Savory Rhubarb Recipes


Header image: CHOW

Some foods live double lives: the peanut would probably rather hide its secret identity as a legume and pork butt doesn’t need you to know that it actually comes from the shoulder end. But rhubarb is sick and tired of being pigeonholed as a fruit: it’s a vegetable, darn it, and any botanist will back up that claim. Just because we tend to eat it tucked into desserts and buried under heaps of sugar, that doesn’t mean it’s any less proud a member of the stalks, leaves, and greens club.

There are also plenty of ways to explore rhubarb’s charms beyond the baked goods and pastry category. Yes, some of these recipes do take advantage of its affinity of sweeteners, but some also embrace its sour-powered glory. Get in on the savory action with one of these nine recipes—you’ll never think to use the f-word around rhubarb again.

1. Rhubarb-Braised Chicken Thighs

Mostly sour, but with a touch of honey sweetness, this chicken soaks in all of rhubarb’s tart juices. Get our Rhubarb-Braised Chicken Thighs recipe.

2. Braised Pork Shoulder with Rhubarb and Peas

The slow-cooked pork in this recipe is loaded with heady spices and seasonings. All that richness needs something acidic to cut through, and rhubarb provides that counterpoint beautifully. Get the recipe here.

3. Roast Chicken with Rhubarb Butter and Asparagus

This recipe does rhubarb two ways: first, it uses it as a seasoning for this crispy-skinned chicken. Then, it tucks the simmered stalks into a compound butter, which makes for a decadent topping over asparagus. Get the recipe here.

4. Basil Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Rosé Sauce

Rhubarb and rosé are a pleasant pairing in this recipe, and not just because they both think pink. The wine’s fruity notes, along with a dash of perfume-y cinnamon and cardamom, make for a fully-fragranced sauce that adds intrigue to mild pork tenderloin. Get the recipe here.

5. Canal House’s Pork Belly with Gingery Rhubarb Compote

Pork belly is a gloriously rich and fatty cut of meat, for sure. But it’s the compote in this recipe manages to steal the show, with it’s mind-bending combo of rhubarb with golden raisins, crystallized ginger, capers, and hot pepper. Get the recipe here.

6. Rhubarb Beetroot Salad with Arugula and Basil

Rhubarb packs a crunch (when it’s not cooked down), so naturally, it would make for an intriguing textural addition to any salad. Here, sliced pieces of it are very gently sautéed so that they retain their crispness. Get the recipe here.

7. Persian Rhubarb and Beef with Rice

Katie at the Kitchen Door

Persian cuisine makes frequent use of pomegranate, but the red fruit is a seasonal item best enjoyed in the fall. In the spring and summer, rhubarb is an able substitute, adding its own tart charms to this hearty dishes like pilaf with beef. Get the recipe here.

8. Rhubarb-B-Q Chicken Legs

Most barbecue sauces get their tangy oomph from tomato. This one bucks tradition, however, and swaps it out with rhubarb, for a taste that is a bit lighter yet more vegetal and garden-y than the original. Get the recipe here.

9. Cornmeal Crusted Fish Tacos with Rhubarb Salsa

Fans of tart and chunky salsas take note: rhubarb is here to up the game. Parboiled for only a brief moment, this taco topper embraces the vegetable’s unadulterated flavor, providing a brisk and pucker-inducing accompaniment to cornmeal-crusted fish. Get the recipe here.


Spring Entertaining: Keeping It Simple

1 of 9 ###Live Caption: Roast chicken and asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Roast chicken and asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

2 of 9 ###Live Caption: Roast chicken and asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Roast chicken and asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

4 of 9 ###Live Caption: Dessert dish of meringue with strawberries for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Dessert dish of meringue with strawberries for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

5 of 9 ###Live Caption: Asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Asparagus for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

7 of 9 ###Live Caption: Vegetable dish of carrots, peas and fava beans for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Vegetable dish of carrots, peas and fava beans for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

8 of 9 ###Live Caption: Herb salad with black trumpet mushrooms for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Caption History: Herb salad with black trumpet mushrooms for a spring entertaining food spread. Food styled by Ethel Brennan. Photo by Craig Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle ###Notes: Craig Lee 415-218-8597 [email protected] ###Special Instructions: MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/NO SALES-MAGS OUT Photo by Craig Lee Show More Show Less

Giving a dinner party to celebrate the new season is one of my favorite things to do. In spring, letting the young, tender produce take center stage makes for easy entertaining menus.

Spring is the season of early growth, when soil moisture combined with the increasing day length and rising temperatures encourages perennials such as rhubarb, artichokes and asparagus to send forth tender stalks and buds. Favas and peas are flowering and setting their first tender pods. The young carrots are sweet, the radishes crunchy and crisp. Green garlic is available for only a few weeks, before the bulbs fill and mature into heads. Tarragon, dormant over the winter, starts sporting new growth, and thyme will soon be flowering. When putting together my menus, I wanted both of them to speak of spring's vegetables, some of which are here for a brief time. The appetizers set the tone for each meal, and since they are so pristine and straightforward, I kept that style in the rest of each menu.

One of my favorite easy bites is young fava beans and radishes served raw with sea salt and butter. You can only serve them for a few short weeks, while the favas are still small and tender. Asparagus or young leeks, steamed and simply dressed with tarragon mayonnaise, green garlic spread or a green herb salad, are also good beginnings.

For a main dish, celebrate the flush of fresh thyme by infusing a roast chicken with it. What to accompany the main dish? More spring vegetables such as baby Yukon gold potatoes with baby artichoke hearts.

For dessert, choose the first fruits of spring, strawberries or rhubarb, or both in combination.

Conversely, for a second menu, green garlic spread on baguette toasts, while still simple, implies a more constructed meal to come. The salad features exotic mushrooms, the lamb is cooked with leeks and served with a medley of spring's finest vegetables, and the meal concludes with Rhubarb & Strawberry Shortcakes.

As you construct your menus for spring, you might decide first on your dessert, then work backward, or start in the middle with your main dish. Everyone has a way of thinking about a meal, and often what is special in the season is what directs our choices.

Preparation time line

Both menus

Three days before

-- Choose your tableware and linens and set them out.

-- Decide on your table arrangements, and buy or cut the flowers and greenery, keeping them in water in a cool place until ready to arrange.

Two days before

One day before

The morning of the party

-- Set the table and make the flower arrangements.

For Menu 1

Two days before

The morning of the party

-- Make the tarragon mayonnaise.

-- Season and stuff the chicken.

-- Prepare the radishes and put them in cold water, covered, in the refrigerator, to crisp.

For Menu 2

The morning of the party

-- Make the green garlic spread.

Menu 1

Radishes & Favas with Butter & Sea Salt

Asparagus with Tarragon Mayonnaise

Roast Chicken Stuffed with Thyme

Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes & Artichokes

Menu 2

Toasts with Green Garlic & Farmer's Cheese

Green Herb Salad with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Slow-Cooked Lamb with Leeks & Rosemary

Butter-Braised Carrots, Peas & Favas

Rhubarb & Strawberry Shortcakes

RECIPES ON F3 & F4

Radishes & Favas with Butter & Sea Salt

Whenever I serve this, and it can only be in early spring, people remember it for years. It is the essence of spring eating in Provence, where both white-tablecloth restaurants and country homes honor these early, perfect vegetables. Choose young favas, with beans the size of the tip of your little finger, and small, crisp radishes. Serve with coarse sea salt, sweet butter and slices of baguette.

  • 1 to 2 bunches small radishes, preferably the white-tipped French Breakfast variety
  • 1 pound young favas, with some leaves attached, if possible
  • -- Butter
  • -- Coarse sea salt
  • 1 baguette, sliced

Instructions: Clean the radishes, leaving the small root intact and several of the green leaves and put them in a bowl or on a platter. Put the favas, still in their pods, with leaves attached in another bowl or platter. Bring these to the table with the butter, salt and bread, and a bowl to put the discarded pods and leaves.

Let the diners serve themselves by opening their own fava bean pods, and spreading butter and sprinkling salt on the vegetables.

Nutritional analysis not possible because of the general nature of the recipe.

Asparagus with Tarragon Mayonnaise

Asparagus and young, tender tarragon are a perfect match. I use unsorted asparagus from my garden, so the spears are a mixture of different sizes. Be sure not to overcook.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, homemade or purchased (not low-fat)
  • 4 tablespoons minced tarragon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Juice of half a Meyer lemon
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed

Instructions: In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. It can be made up to 12 hours in advance.

In the top of a steamer over high heat, place the asparagus and cover. When the water comes to a boil, cook until a thick stalk can be pierced with the tip of a knife, but still offers a bit of resistance.

Remove from the steamer and place on a platter.

Serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled, accompanied by the mayonnaise.

Per serving: 305 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat (5 g saturated), 19 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Roast Chicken Stuffed with Thyme

In spring, when the thyme has fresh growth and is flowering, the flavor is less resinous than in winter. A handful or two inside the chicken, plus a sprinkling outside, delicately infuses the meat with its flavor.

  • 3 1/2 to 4-pound frying chicken
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 handfuls fresh thyme, flowering if possible, plus several sprigs for garnish

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Wash and pat dry the chicken, inside and out. Rub it inside with about 1/3 of the salt and a little of the pepper. Rub it outside with the thyme, then tuck the thyme into the cavity.

Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with the remaining salt and pepper, patting it onto the skin.

Place on a rack in a roaster and roast until the juice of the thigh runs clear when pierced with a fork, or a meat thermometer registers 165°, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove and let stand 10-15 minutes before carving into serving pieces. Place on a platter and garnish with the reserved thyme sprigs.

Per serving: 305 calories, 33 g protein, 0 carbohydrate, 18 g fat (5 g saturated), 131 mg cholesterol, 454 mg sodium, 0 fiber

Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes & Artichokes

I love potatoes with chicken and in spring, this simple dish showcases young potatoes and artichokes. The artichokes cook more quickly than the potatoes, so they are sauteed, then removed and added back during the last five minutes of cooking.

  • 10 to 12 baby artichokes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions: Cut off the upper one-third and stem of each artichoke. Break off the leaves until you reach the inner layers, which are pale yellow. Trim the bottom and cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. Rub the cut edges with lemon and put in a bowl of water. Continue until all the artichokes are ready.

Remove artichokes from the water and pat dry with a towel. In a saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the artichokes, sprinkle with half the salt and saute until the edges start to turn golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Put the potatoes in the saute or frying pan, adding more oil if necessary. Saute the potatoes, turning often, until they begin to change color slightly, about 5 minutes. Add enough broth to go up a 1/2 inch in the pan, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, turning several times, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes, and most of the broth has been absorbed. Add the artichokes, and if needed, a little more broth. It shouldn't be soupy, but enough to prevent burning. Cover and cook until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Remove to a bowl and serve hot.

Per serving: 105 calories, 3 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 cholesterol, 392 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

Strawberry Meringues

Homemade meringues are easy to make and are especially delicious made with the whites of farm-fresh eggs. I usually make them the day before the party. If the available strawberries are not as sweet or as juicy as I like, I use a trick of my French neighbor, Marie, and add some red wine and a pinch of thyme or rosemary and let the fruit marinate for up to 4 hours. Beware that the longer they marinate, the stronger the flavor becomes.

  • The meringues
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • The strawberries
  • 2 pints small or medium strawberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced thyme or rosemary (optional)
  • 2 cups Syrah or Merlot (optional)

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 250°.

Place the egg whites in a large, stainless steel bowl. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat with a handheld mixer until the mixture forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar in small portions, about 2 tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat after each addition. As the sugar dissolves the peaks will become increasingly stiff. Continue to beat until the whites become dense and glossy, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overbeat or the egg whites will deflate.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. For each meringue, scoop up about 3/4 cup of the egg white mixture and mound it on the lined baking sheet, forming a disk about 3 inches in diameter. With the back of a spoon, shape a well in the center. You should have 8 to 10 shells in all.

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for 1 hour. At that point the shells will be dry and a very faint brown or bisque color. Turn off the heat and let the meringues stand in the oven until they are completely cool, at least two hours or as long as overnight. Slip the meringues into a brown paper bag, fold over the top, and store them in a dry place until ready to use. Store up to 2 days.

For the strawberries: Put all the ingredients in a bowl, using more or less sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries. Stir, cover and refrigerate for 2-12 hours.

To serve, place a meringue on individual dessert dishes or shallow bowls and spoon some strawberries and juice over them.

Per serving: 260 calories, 4 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate, 0 fat (0 saturated), 0 cholesterol, 234 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Toasts with Green Garlic & Farmer's Cheese

Makes 12 -- Serves 6

This is a springtime version of a spread I make using shallots other times of the year. The mild green garlic gives the spread a fresh, garlicky flavor that is not overpowering. You can also use soft goat cheese instead of farmer's cheese, which will give the spread a tangy flavor as well.

  • 4 or 5 stalks green garlic
  • 6 ounces farmer's cheese (see Note)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Heavy cream (optional)
  • 12 slices baguette, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic chives (optional)

Instructions: Cut off the dark green leaves of the garlic and discard. Peel back and discard the tough outer leaves surrounding the bulb. Mince the tender bulb and put into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining garlic. Add the cheese and salt to the bowl and mix well with a fork. If it seems too thick to spread, add a little cream.

Spread on the bread and sprinkle each with some of the garlic chives.

Note: You can substitute 4 ounces goat cheese mixed with 4 tablespoons heavy cream.

Per serving: 110 calories, 5 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 14 mg cholesterol, 156 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

Slow-Cooked Lamb with Leeks & Rosemary

As the lamb and vegetables cook in the wine, the vegetables dissolve to create an unctuous sauce full of the sweet flavor of the carrots and leeks. Serve the lamb accompanied by a medley of lightly braised or steamed spring vegetables such as peas, fava beans, artichoke hearts, asparagus or baby carrots.

  • 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green only, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 bottle Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3 sprigs rosemary + 1 teaspoon minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Season the lamb with the salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottom pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the lamb a few cubes at a time and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining lamb, adding more oil as needed.

Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the oil and butter, and then add the onion and leek. Saute until just translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring for a minute. Return the meat and any collected juices to the pan and pour in the wine, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Add 2 rosemary sprigs, cover and put in the oven.

After 45 minutes of cooking, add 1/4- 1/2 cup of broth, to thin the thickening sauce if necessary. Cover and cook for 15-30 minutes longer, or until the lamb is tender to the bite and the sauce is thick.

Remove, stir in the minced rosemary and keep warm until time to serve. To serve, spoon into a bowl or onto a platter and garnish with the reserved rosemary sprig.

Per serving: 350 calories, 41 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat (7 g saturated), 131 mg cholesterol, 1,179 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Butter-Braised Carrots, Peas & Favas

On spring menus in France you will find various versions of lamb cooked with early spring vegetables. In my version, the vegetables are cooked separately, then served to accompany Slow-Cooked Lamb with Leeks & Rosemary. Choose fava beans that, when shelled and peeled, are about the size of the tip of your little finger. The larger, more mature favas are too starchy for this simple treatment.

  • 1 pound young fava beans, shelled
  • 1 to 2 bunches long, thin, young carrots, about 14
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 pound English peas, shelled

Instructions: To remove the skins from the favas, drop them in boiling water for 10 seconds. The skins will pop and can be easily removed with your fingers or the tip of a knife. Set the peeled favas aside.

Trim and peel the carrots, leaving about 1/2 inch of the greens intact. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then in half again crosswise, on an angle.

In a saute or frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. When it has melted, add the carrots and sprinkle them with a little of the salt. Turn several times, then cover the pan tightly and reduce the heat to low. Braise for 5 minutes, then add the remaining butter and 2 teaspoons of the broth. Cover and cook until the carrots are nearly tender, about another 5 minutes. Add the peas and a little more broth if needed, and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the favas and cook 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 165 calories, 9 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 123 mg sodium, 10 g fiber.

Rhubarb & Strawberry Shortcakes

The first rhubarb stalks are appearing in the market now, and their tart flavor, combined with strawberries in a compote, then spooned over shortcake or ice cream, or even meringues, makes a celebratory end to a spring meal.

  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed and peeled and cut into 1/2-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pint strawberries, stemmed, hulled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 to 8 shortcakes, homemade (for a recipe, see link with this story at sfgate.com/food) or purchased

Instructions: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rhubarb, sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, still covered, until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the sliced strawberries. Let cool to room temperature and then spoon over the shortcakes.

Per serving: 275 calories, 5 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 0 cholesterol, 464 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Green Herb Salad with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Spring herbs are especially tender and succulent, and I like to use them as full-fledged ingredients in green salads, an equal partner with the lettuce. I couldn't resist a pile of black trumpet mushrooms I saw at the market, so I added them as well.

  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small butter head lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces, about 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup tender parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup chervil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 ounces black trumpet mushrooms

Instructions: In a salad bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the vinegar, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well with a fork and then top with the lettuce, parsley, arugula, tarragon and chervil. Do not toss.

Put the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper, and saute just until they wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan to paper towels. Toss the salad and divide it among six salad plates and top each with a portion of the still-hot mushrooms. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 60 calories, 1 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 cholesterol, 361 mg sodium, 1 g fiber


Roast chicken recipes

Inventive recipes that give whole roast chicken some serious perk, from flavour additions to all-in-one roasts and ideas for sides.

Roast chicken & roots

This one-tray, vibrant and veg-heavy roast chicken dish provides four of your five-a-day

Herby slow-roast chicken

Marinate your bird overnight in bay, rosemary, lemon thyme and sage, then slow-cook for a flavour-packed roast dinner

Preserved lemon roast chicken with freekeh salad

A main course bursting with fresh flavours, citrussy chicken with mint, radish and spring onion-spiked grains - a new way to serve your roast

How to roast a chicken

Learn how to cook an easy roast chicken with this step-by-step guide. Find out how to achieve crisp, golden skin and succulent meat, perfect for a special Sunday lunch.


Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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These Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts are oozing with provolone cheese and turn out so tender and moist. Simple enough to prepare for any night of the week, yet elegant enough for a special occasion meal.


Most of the recipes on the blog are made rather effortlessly but there are recipes I make that require some effort and time devoted to the preparation process. This Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts is one of those recipes. It may take a bit more time to prepare but the cooking time is under 40 minutes and is totally worth the extra minutes it takes to assemble and brown up the stuffed chicken breasts. We love serving this Savory Herb Rice with the stuffed chicken.


Cooking Instructions

– Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Remove any parts inside.
– Spice it with salt, pepper and paprika, inside and outside.
– Wash parsley and place it in the belly of the chicken.
– Pre-heat oven to 220 C or 425 F.
– Melt the butter and with a cooking brush spread it all over the chicken.
– Place the chicken on the grid or the fire proof pan with the breast down.

– When the back of the chicken has showing some brownish color, turn it around and again spread some butter on it several times. It should never dry out. You also can use the stock that has been generated in the pan.
– After about 50 minutes it should be done (cooking time entirely depends on the weight of the chicken),

– Pour the stock through a sieve into a pan, add cornstarch that had been dissolved in some cold water, heavy cream, mix well and bring to a brief boil. It should have thickened. If not add some more dissolved corn starch. Remove from heat, spice with salt and pepper to taste.
– Remove the parsley from the inside, then cut the chicken into its parts.

Serve the chicken with pasta, fried potatoes, French fries, mixed salad and seasonal vegetable. For an Oktoberfest serve with cabbage salad and French Fries.


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