Chicka Brick

chickendinner

Another Sunday Supper! Last Sunday I made chicka brick, ginger mashed sweet potatoes, sweet and sour rainbow chard, and lavender apple crumble. Yum!

If you cook these four dishes for dinner, I recommend starting with the chicken, then while that’s in the oven get the apple crumble baking before making the sweet potato and the kale towards end.

In the future I am going to make a cookbook for kids called Sunday Suppers, and all these recipes and awesome graphics are going to go in it, but for now I must be content with my blog. I think most cookbooks really “dumb it down” in a sense, and try to make everything cute, but not real food.

There is one kid’s cookbook that I love, and it’s called The River Cottage Family Cookbook. It is a cookbook for kids who want to do real cooking. Not just make-a-veggie-platter cooking. It teaches kids how to make their own sausages, cheese, and bread among normal dishes. This book is what inspired me to cook Sunday Suppers, and it is still one of my favorite cookbooks. It not only has great recipes, it also has a lot of information about basic ingredients (eggs, milk, flour, fruit etc.). The recipes are sorted by ingredient, so all the breads are in the flour section and the soups and salads are in the veggie section.

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The first time we had this kind of chicken was on our first trip to Spoleto, Umbria in Italy, when I was about 8 years old. We asked for a lunch recommendation, which led us to a little basement tratteria with no menu. We were asked some things in Italian, to which we answered “si, si bene” (what else is there to say). The chicken we ate there was one of the best chickens I’ve ever had. The bones were literally crushed, the meat falling apart, perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned.

You can see why we would try to recreate this dish a soon as we got home! Here is our recipe, which has now become a favorite in the house!

Chicka Brick
Servings- 4-5 (2 dark meat and 2-3 light meat servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3-4 Tablespoons herbes de provence
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt

Three ingredient best chicken in the world? You bet.

Some Tools

  • 4 large bricks
  • kitchen scissors
  • roasting pan

Before you begin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with the bricks inside to heat them up. Start by removing and discarding giblets if necessary.  Wash the chicken and then cut out the backbone. Open it, breasts facing up, on a roasting pan. Flatten it by pushing down hard with the palms of your hands. This will help the bricks lay flat while cooking.

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Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt first, and then herbes de provence, covering the whole surface.

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Now take the hot bricks out of the oven and carefully stack them on top of the chicken, two one way, and then two more on top laying the other way, kind of log cabin style.

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Bake for about an hour, or until the skin is golden and juices run clear.

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Portion chicken right before serving.

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I like sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato latkes… the list goes on. But one sweet potato staple that really goes with almost anything, is mashed sweet potatoes. This sweet, creamy side is a perfect compliment to the salty, crispy skinned chicka brick.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Servings- 4-5

Ingredients

  • 6-7 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of milk (if necessary)

Some Tools

  • food mill or potato masher
  • peeler
  • medium pot

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Start by peeling the potatoes and then dicing them into about 2 inch chunks. Bring a pot of water (with the pinch of salt) to a boil and then add the potatoes. Over high heat cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until fork tender.

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Strain the water from the potatoes and then process the potatoes through a food mill or mash with a potato masher. Stir in the butter, salt, pepper, and ginger. If your potatoes are too dry add some milk until they are creamy. Simple!

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No meal is complete without a large, delicious serving of greens. But who says they can’t be rainbow, or for that matter, sweet?! This is a delicious (and in my opinion the best) way to prepare rainbow chard, and it tastes great with smooth, creamy sweet potatoes, and the salty chicken. The chard is best warm, right out of the sauté pan, so when you are preparing dinner, be sure to make it last.

Sweet and Sour Rainbow Chard
Servings- 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches fresh rainbow chard
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (brown or granulated, they both are good)

Some Tools

  • heavy sauté pan with lid
  • a big bowl

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Tear the chard leaves away from the stalks and pile the leaves in a bowl. Rinse them by filling the bowl with water then draining it, shaking the bowl gently as it drains to dry the leaves a bit.

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Heat a large sauté pan over high heat with the oil in it until the oil shimmers. Add in the wet chard by the handful, being careful of the very hot steam. Don’t burn yourself! As soon as all the chard is in, cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted but not discolored. Then add the brown sugar and vinegar and stir to coat the leaves. Continue to sauté until the sugar is dissolved. Serve and enjoy!

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Because the meal wouldn’t be perfect without dessert, here is a recipe for a delicious lavender apple crisp. Apple crisp is an old favorite, but the lavender sprinkled on top adds a new and exciting twist! As all crisps go, this is best served warm with ice cream….

but you can eat the leftovers plain for breakfast!! shh… don’t tell 😀

Lavender Apple Crisp
Servings- 4-5

Crumble Topping Ingredients

  • 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Apple Filling Ingredients

  • 5 granny smith or other tart baking apples (about 2 lbs of apples)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Some Tools

  • 8×8 glass baking dish
  • peeler
  • two large bowls

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First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the butter and sugars using either a mixer or your hands (your hands is better) until the mixture is sandy.

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In another bowl combine the flour, salt, oats, and cinnamon.

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Add the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar and combine them with your hands until the mixture is crumbly with some chunks, ranging from pea sized to crumbs. Set the crumb topping aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

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Now peel and core the apples and then slice in 1/8 of an inch slices, as evenly as possible for perfect cooking.

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In the baking dish, combine the apple slices with the cinnamon and sugar until well coated. Take the crumble topping out of the refrigerator and sprinkle it evenly over the apples.

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Take the lavender heads and tear them into small pieces. Scatter over the crumble topping, if desired. Bake the apple crumble for about 30 minutes or until apples are tender

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Serve warm with ice cream. Enjoy!

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