There’s really not much to this dish, matter of fact, in the book the author dubs it “Quick Weekday Roast Chicken with Potatoes”. So it is easy enough that it can be made during the week for supper. I’ve made this many times since I first tested it out for the book and it never ceases to jolt my senses by how delicious it is. The book I am talking about here is David Leite’s wonderful “The New Portuguese Table” and the stuff that makes this chicken so good is the “amped-up red pepper paste”. That paste is tart, with a deep tomato flavor, lots of different types of paprika, fragrant with cilantro and certainly pretty garlicky. It makes one of hell of a tasty tray of baked chicken wings and a great rub for pork as well.
When I make the recipe now I do deviate slightly from the instructions. I like to salt the chicken well the night before (something I do with all meat if I can) or at least for 4-5 hours before I roast it. This salt treatment makes any meat taste better and I first started doing it a long time ago based on Judy Rodgers’ method in her classic “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook“. The salt draws out the water, very lightly cures the meat and actually makes it more flavorful and juicy. The other deviation is how I treat the potatoes. Leite puts them in with the chicken raw, I prefer to boil them or steam them first. They seem to soak in more of the cooking juices and of the paste as they roast alongside the chicken. On top of that they also crisp up better.
For the past few weeks, every Thursday, a farmers’ market have been setup in the plaza center right next to my office. I did not honestly expect much but was pleasantly surprised. A couple of vendors are selling fresh eggs, there several with good summer vegetables, a very good bread stand, several prepared food and “treats’ vendors. We also got artisan sausages, bacon and all kinds of goat milk products, like an excellent fresh cheese.
This here is a fresh tomato salad, topped with tangy goat cheese (from Swede Farm). We ate that for dinner with crusty baguettes.
The following week we had a chicken salad with tomato vinaigrette, salad greens, whole grain bread croutons and sweet small tomatoes that according to the vendor are called Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes.
I was pretty happy that the Saints made it to the Super Bowl this year, but I honestly did not think they would actually win! That was a fantastic game. Either way I knew I’d be making some good food to match the Saint’s home state. The main course was gumbo. This one is shrimp, sausage and chicken. I used a recipe from “Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans” for the gumbo and changed it up a bit. I used a bit less oil and added half a pound of okra in there. For the roux I used Alton Brown’s method of making it in the oven. Sure it takes more time but is very convenient and almost guarantees a perfect, dark but not burned roux.
For dessert I wanted to make a sweet potato pie, also based on a recipe from the same book. I made the dough with the standard 3-2-1 pastry dough recipe, the perfect ratio of flour-butter-water for a flaky and delicious pie dough. The filling recipe only made enough to fill half the pie, so I quickly decided that the sweet potato pie is now a sweet potato-pecan pie. Good and very tasty decision that was.