Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meal in an Oven for Easy Entertaining With Recipes for Spice-Rubbed Roast Chicken and Chocolate Banana Bread

My friends Dawn and Sandy Margolin usually welcome another family or two to their over-sized dining table most Friday nights, but they never wonder what to serve. For the past 25 years it's been the same menu: Spice-Rubbed Roast Chicken and Chocolate Banana Bread.

“Knowing what I’m going to make each week makes me comfortable inviting over guests without having stress about it. I ask the guests to bring the salad, because making salad causes me stress,” she said with a laugh.

Below are my adaptations of her recipes.
Spice-Rubbed Roast Chicken
Serves 4-6

Dawn serves this with mashed potatoes or adds the potatoes to the baking pan.

4 Tbs. olive oil plus 1 Tbs. for greasing pan
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground red (cayenne) pepper
3 tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. turmeric
4 ½ to 5 lb. whole chicken
3 large carrots cut into ½” slices
3-4 cups of ½” chunks of root vegetables (such as turnips, butternut squash and/or potatoes)
1 large onion, cut into ½” chunks
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease large, deep baking or roasting pan with 1 Tbs. oil. Mix salt, peppers, cumin, turmeric and remaining oil in small bowl. Remove excess fat from chicken as well as any organs that might be packed inside. Rinse. Rub 1 tsp. of the spice mixture inside the chicken and another 1 Tbs. on the outside. Place in greased pan. Scatter carrots, root vegetable chunks, onions and whole cloves of garlic. Drizzle remaining spice mixture on top. Pour chicken stock over veggies. Roast for about 1 ½ hours, basting chicken occasionally and turning and stirring vegetables in cooking liquid. Chicken is done when juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a sharp knife.

Chocolate Banana Bread
Serves 12

The technique is a bit different, but the result is ooey, gooey and delicious.  Dawn makes hers without the nuts.

½ cup butter or  margarine (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large bananas, cut into ¼” slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into 5”x 9” loaf pan. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Mix well. Combine flour and baking powder, add to pan. Add egg and mix well. Add nuts (if using) and chocolate chips. Do not stir. Heat banana slices in microwave for 2 minutes until fully softened. Drain if necessary. Add hot bananas to pan and mix well until the chocolate chips melt. Bake about 40-50 minutes until it looks set and the top springs back when touched. Turn out of pan. Cool on wire rack.

Cooking a whole meal in the oven can help save energy.  For more information, see my post on energy efficiency in the kitchen here.

A version of this article appeared in the j. weekly. 


VegeCooking Club said...

Both of these recipes have my mouth watering! I love the root veggies with the chicken. (And who doesn't love banana bread with CHOCOLATE no less?!)

FJKramer said...

Thanks Dawn.
Readers, please note: This Dawn is NOT the one I wrote about! LOL.

The Food Hunter said...

Love both of them.