The Otium

[remodeling soon!]

Lemon-Rosemary Roast Chicken over Pear & Gorgonzola Stuffing


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I just returned from a business trip to Russia, to find that summer has — at long last! — come to an end in Indiana.  The air finally feels like autumn, free from the traces of summer’s humidity that hang around far longer than the chirping cicadas.  The leaves are beginning to change color, and crunch beneath my feet on the sidewalk.  And the days remain chilly, despite the sun’s best attempts to burn off the frost.  So after a jet lag-induced early rise this morning, an outing to my neighborhood bakery, and a stop at the market, I was ready for a warm, hearty autumn supper.

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This one-pan meal was the perfect fix for my craving, and it couldn’t be easier to pull together.  While the final product tastes like a day-long labor of love, it takes less than two hours from start to table.  This is a wonderful fall or winter meal, and even works for weeknights.

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Since the chicken is butterflied, it will cook faster and more evenly — plus, all of the skin gets irresistably crispy!  I roast the chicken directly above the stuffing so that the drippings soak into the bread, providing a deep, rich flavor to round out the sweet pears.  And while gorgonzola — well, cheese in general — is not a common stuffing ingredient, it adds a creaminess that takes stuffing to the next level.

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Lemon-Rosemary Roast Chicken over Pear & Gorgonzola Stuffing

Makes 4-6 servings | 30 minutes prep + 70 minutes cook time

Ingredients

  • butter (for roasting pan)
  • 7 C day-old French bread cubes (~1/3″x1/3″x1/3″)*
  • 2 small pears, cored and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • leaves from one sprig rosemary, very finely chopped
  • handful fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped
  • half handful fresh sage leaves, very finely chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • coarse salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole sprig rosemary

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a small roasting pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, pears, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary leaves, parsley, sage, gorgonzola, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Toss to combine.
  3. Drizzle chicken broth over bread cube mixture, and stir to coat bread evenly with broth.
  4. Spread stuffing mixture evenly across roasting pan.  Place roasting rack into pan, over the stuffing.
  5. Butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone.  Rinse and pat dry.  Place skin side up onto roasting rack.
  6. Halve the lemon.  Lightly squeeze a bit of lemon juice onto chicken.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle coarse salt onto chicken.  Place whole sprig rosemary onto chicken.
  7. Place lemon halves, cut side up, onto roasting rack.
  8. Cover roasting rack tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 55 minutes or until chicken internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  9. Switch oven to a low broil, remove aluminum foil, and place roasting pan on low oven rack (not right up close to broiler).  Broil for 10-15 minutes or until chicken skin is golden, and lemons have slightly caramelized.
  10. To serve, squeeze roasted lemons onto carved/pulled chicken, and sprinkle with coarse salt.  I also recommend you mix the stuffing together for a more consistent texture, because the center portion (directly under the chicken) may be wetter than the outer regions (directly exposed to broiler), depending on the size of your pan and chicken.

* If you do not have day-old bread, spread your bread cubes onto a baking sheet and toast in 250°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

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Holiday S’Mores – Gingerbread Grahams, Cranberry Marshmallows, & Red Wine + Maple Poached Cherry Cordials

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Happy New Year!  In the spirit of healthy resolutions, I’ll post an indulgent, sweet recipe, but it will be a recipe that you won’t want to make for another 12 months, at which time your resolution will be long broken.

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At Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law confessed that she had tried a s’more for the first time in her life this past summer.  After getting over my initial surprise, I got to wondering why we associate s’mores almost exclusively with summer.  Sure, summer lakeside camping goes with evening campfires, which lends itself perfectly to toasted marshmallows, and naturally, to s’mores. (more…)

Cranberry & Ginger Ale Panna Cotta

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The S.O. and I spent Thanksgiving back in Michigan with his family.  It was a wonderful trip — how we miss the Mitten State!  But I knew Thanksgiving day food prep was going to be a challenge.  Since the S.O. and I were in a hotel, there wasn’t much we could do to help with food prep ahead of time.  The in-laws’ oven was the only oven we had, and it was working overtime to bake bread, several casseroles, and the turkey.  So I knew that a pie would just complicate matters — plus, my father-in-law and I are the only pie-eaters of the bunch. (more…)

Stilton & Beurre Noisette Dutch Baby with Winter Squash and Sage Whipped Cream

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Fall has come and gone so much faster than I wanted.  There are a dozen stagnant items on my to-do list that have been glaring at me since September.  They’re a constant, looming reminder of how quickly time has gotten away from me these past few months.  Work has been beyond hectic.  But with grades submitted today and a job offer for my first graduated grad student, I am beginning to feel like I’m getting back in control of my to-do list…

…even if only temporarily.  This winter break could not have come at a better time, as I am bracing for an awful January and February.  I’ll have four weeks of travel and a week of jury duty in the first six weeks of the new year, on top of four major proposal deadlines in that same span.

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But for now, I’m breathing deep and unwinding.  I’m drinking lots of wine while binge-watching The Good Wife.  I’m getting a 90 minute massage tomorrow morning.  I’m going to cook up a storm this Christmas.  And in the meantime, I also want to share this recipe with you. (more…)

Delicata Squash & Cardamom Sticky Buns

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I don’t remember any of the Christmas gifts I received during my childhood.  Rather, my most vivid memories of Christmas morning was waking up to the sweet, buttery smell of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls or sticky buns.  My mom would let my sister and me each open one present before she made us eat breakfast — but to me, breakfast was the real present, as I will never forget how those sticky, gooey rolls tasted.  My childhood winter holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve — were all punctuated with this same memory of rich cinnamony or caramelly rolls for breakfast.  So to this day, I still associate the heartwarming love and comfort of a quiet winter holiday with sticky breakfast rolls. (more…)