One of our favorite meals this time of year is to have roasted chicken with roasted vegetables. Using a can to stand the chicken upright is a great way to get the chicken to roast evenly on all sides and the can helps the inside of the chicken cook more evenly as well. We used our tajine as the base to put all of the vegetables, allowing the drippings from the chicken to coat the vegetables, which makes them even more favorable. It is certainly the type of meal that can be found almost anywhere that you travel as there are so many different ways that chicken and vegetables can be roasted together. You can choose whatever type of root vegetables are in season, but be sure to keep them all about the same size.
1 whole Roasting Chicken
10 small Red Potatoes
14 Baby Carrots – multicolored
12 Brussel Sprouts
1/2 Red Onion – cut into chunks
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dried Rosemary – roughly chopped
1 tbsp Dried Thyme
2 tsp Powdered Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Coat the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and place them in the base to the tajine (or a shallow baking dish). Coat all sides of the chicken with the remaining olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper. Place a can that is large enough to support the chicken, and that has been washed and dried, inside of the chicken cavity, placing the closed side of the can towards the top of the chicken. Put the can with the chicken in the center of the tajine, surrounding it with the vegetables. Place the chicken and vegetables into the lower rack of an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees and roast for 15 minutes per pound. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables.
Regardless of where you live, getting fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and other items from local farmers is definitely worth the effort. During our time in Germany, we came to rely on the market to get fresh produce, but also to pick up flowers for our apartment. Even here in Colorado, we will go to the farmer’s market almost every weekend during the summer to take advantage of getting items that are being harvested at that time. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to the variety of items that seem to be available in Europe and other places, but we enjoy going to them whenever we can, even if we aren’t buying anything.
One of the most diverse markets that we visited was the one in Tangiers, Morocco. The variety of colors and smells were almost overwhelming with the spices, fresh produce, seafood, and meat that would be trimmed in front of you. You could even buy bones for soups and other parts of the animals as nothing goes to waste. Even though we didn’t buy anything, we were able to try several things as we walked through the stalls from olives to a fresh tangerine. Each owner was very proud of the items that they had to sell and were definitely keen on making sure that you knew anything you wanted about what they had on display.
Although every stall was unique in what they had to offer, it was amazing to see the similarities in the way that they arranged their items for sale. Each would put their items out in ways where the colors would contrast one another and naturally draw you eyes to certain items. This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Variations on a Theme and the entirety of the market in Morocco was definitely just that.
When entertaining, we will often serve game hens so that everyone can have their own hen. For this recipe, we served them whole, but when having guests over, we will usually cut the hens in half so that it is easier to eat and is a smaller portion. This recipe is really easy and the flavor of the hens was sensational. It would even be good as a holiday meal and works great for a special occasion. The vegetables soak up the flavor from the hens and the pancetta, making them decadently delicious. Rice Pilaf or stuffing would make a great accompaniment or you could add potatoes to the vegetables for a simple one pot dinner. We only cooked two hens since it was just the two of us, but we’ve provided the recipe for six people.
6 Cornish Game Hens (approximate 24 oz each)
1 Onion – roughly diced
6 Stocks of Celery – roughly diced
36 Baby Carrots (or 6 Large Carrots – roughly diced)
2 Large Red Peppers – roughly diced
3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tsp Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped
3 tsp Fresh Sage – finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves – minced
1 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
2 tsp Kosher Salt
6 Thin Slices of Pancetta
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Combine the onion, celery, carrots, and red pepper in the bottom of a roasting pan or baking dish. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Set the hens on top of the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, rosemary, sage, black pepper and salt. Rub the herb mixture over the hens until well coated. Lay a piece of pancetta over the breast of each hen and secure with wooden toothpicks. Roast the hens for 15 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast the hens until fully cooked, 45 to 60 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.