Thursday, February 02, 2012

Welcome spring!

Around here, Groundhog Day is actually known as Imbolg, the midway point between winter and spring. Instead of waiting for a large rodent to tell me whether or not there will be more winter, I celebrate the return of evening light and the inevitable approach of spring. This year, my almost-spring meal coincides with this week's entry into the Dark Days Challenge.

As I mentioned at Yule, for the sabbats, I like to cook from Cooking by Moonlight. For this celebratory meal, I chose sun-kissed carrots baked in foil, made with carrots from Tomatero Farms (40 mi) and oranges from Rojas Family Farms (190 mi). I served the carrots with a variation of Food52's chicken breast with cream of herb sauce, using chicken legs from Petaluma Poultry (by way of Whole Foods; 90 mi), cream from Clover (90 mi), and herbs from my garden. To sop up the delicious sauce, there was ciabatta from La Boulange (50 mi).

I put the carrots, sliced red onions from Borba Farms (40 mi), honey from Small Bees (10 mi), and orange juice in a foil packet and put it alongside the pan of chicken legs, leaving them to roast while I made the cream sauce. This sauce was basically a mix of shallots from Borba sauteed in olive oil  from Frog Hollow Farm (70 mi), white wine (Two Buck Chuck — unfortunately not local), and the cream, cooked down until thick. After the chicken legs came out of the oven, I poured the rendered fat into the sauce, which made a good thing even better. The whole meal was extremely delicious and wholly satisfying. It was a great way to mark that the Dark Days are drawing to a close.

Roasted chicken legs with herb cream sauce
(adapted from Food52)

2 chicken legs, skin on
2 shallots, minced
1 c white wine
2 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken legs in a pan just large enough to fit them side by side, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not right next to the bone) registers 160°.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half again.

When the chicken is done, remove the legs from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Add the rendered fat from the pan into the cream sauce. Reduce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce poured on top.

Sun-kissed carrots baked in foil
(slightly adapted from Kari Ann Allrich)

1/2 lb carrots (thinner is better), scrubbed, ends trimmed, and cut into 3-inch pieces
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp orange zest
1/3 c orange juice
1 tbsp honey

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut two pieces of aluminum foil to make a double thick layer, and center the carrots in the middle of the foil. Add red onion, zest, and a little olive oil on top. Cut a piece of foil for the top, match it up, and seal on three sides.

Whisk the juice and honey together and carefully pour it into the open end of the packet, then seal the packet tightly. Place on a baking sheet, and bake carrots for 40 to 50 minutes.

1 comment:

Sincerely, Emily said...

That is a beautiful meal in celebrations of those evening with monger light that we are now having.