Our new kitchen is the greatest, non-living thing in my life right now. I can’t adequately express how much fun it is to cook in this space, on these Frigidaire Professional appliances, and I’m excited to share my first recipe that came from this new place! Well, this “recipe” is actually 4 recipes, which come together to make one awesome meal, so let’s get to it, shall we?
Fennel and Fig Roasted chicken with Potatoes, Braised Cabbage and Lemon Pan Sauce
Ok first, we prep.
Here’s what you need for these recipes:
• 1 whole fryer chicken
• 1 bulb of fennel
• 5 garlic cloves
• 2-3 Tbsp cooking oil
• 1 handful dried figs
• 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
• salt and pepper TT
• 10-14 small red potatoes
• 1 Tbsp cooking oil
• 2 pinches each salt & pepper
• 2 sprigs fresh oregano
• 1/4 head of green cabbage
• 1/2 cup precooked bacon
• 1 small sweet onion
• 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
• 2 pinches each salt & pepper
Lemon Pan Sauce:
• pan the chicken was roasted in, along with drippings
• 1 Tbsp flour
• juice of 1 lemon
• 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
• salt and pepper TT
Now that all sounds like a lot, right? Well don’t worry, we’ll walk through it together and, even though having two ranges makes it a whoooooooole lot easier (not to rub it in, or anything), you can still do this with one oven. You just have to manage the timing and oven space.
So first, prep everything, by doing the following:
• Preheat the ovens, both to 400 degrees. If using only one oven, bump this up to 425, as you’ll need to crowd the oven a bit and bumping up the temperature makes up for that. Place a baking sheet into one of the ovens to preheat along with it.
Cooking Tip – our long-time readers are familiar with the phrase, “cold oil, hot pan.” that’s life’s little secret to preventing food from sticking to cooking surfaces. By preheating the baking sheet in the oven and coating the potatoes in a small amount of oil, once you slide the potatoes onto the hot pan, there will be no sticking. The pan should heat for 10 minutes after the oven reaches cooking temperature. The Frigidaire Professional Ranges have PowerPlus® Preheat technology, which gets that up to temperature in a few minutes. This is super handy, especially when combined with convection roasting, which also cuts cook time down.
• Break down the chicken into its main parts – breasts, wings, thigh/leg quarters
Cooking Tip- white meat, like that from the breast and wings, is very lean and can dry out easily. It should be cooked to 163 degrees and allowed to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Dark meat, like that from the leg and thigh, contains more connective tissue which doesn’t start breaking down until a little warmer, around 175. The breaking down process also moistens the meat, so dark meat is best at this higher temperature. By breaking a whole chicken down to its main parts, you can use a meat thermometer in the white meat to monitor its temperature, remove it at 163, put the thermometer into the dark meat and continue cooking until it reaches 175. Something I love about our new Frigidaire Professional Ranges – they come with built in meat thermometers and you can just set the temperature you want to cook to, instead of guessing how long. Loooooove it.
• Fennel stalks can be saved to use in stocks and soups for flavoring, but if you use them that way be sure to remove them and throw them out before eating, because they are super fibrous. For this recipe, cut off the fronds (the tender, leafy parts of the stalks) and dice the bulb (the white, round part at the base). Place the fronds and bulb in separate bowls.
• Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves.
• Wash and pat dry the red potatoes. Toss them with 1 Tbsp of oil and 2 pinches each of salt and pepper in a zip top bag until evenly coated.
• Roughly chop the cabbage into 2-3 inch pieces.
• Slice the sweet onion.
• Juice the lemon into a bowl and remove any seeds.
• Put the remaining ingredients in bowls and have them ready for when you need to use them.
Once you’ve prepped all your ingredients, now it’s time to get cooking. First, put a medium-sized dutch oven (or large sauté pan) on medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil.
Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and sear the chicken pieces, starting with the skin side down. Only do 2-3 pieces at a time, making sure they aren’t touching (otherwise they will trap steam in the pan and start boiling instead of searing).
Once the chicken is seared, add another Tbsp of cooking oil to the pan and sauté the garlic, diced fennel bulb and figs on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken into the pan, avoiding overlap as much as possible, and sprinkle in the fresh thyme, rosemary, and fennel fronds.
Slide the chicken into the oven, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breast pieces and set the alarm for 163 (“done” is 165, but there will be carryover in cooking, so if you remove at 163, it should coast up to 165). For meat thermometers that go in increments of 5 degrees, I set mine to 160 and give it another couple minutes after the alarm sounds. For the chicken, since it was seared, you’re looking around 20 minutes or so until it’s done.
Open the other oven, with the preheated baking sheet, quickly remove the baking sheet and close the oven door to prevent heat loss. Slide the potatoes onto the baking sheet in a single layer, and slide the sheet back into the oven (again, quickly). Roast until tender in the center, about 30 minutes.
Put a 5 qt stock pot on medium heat and add the precooked bacon to release some of the grease. Add the sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the bacon and onion, add the cabbage, and sprinkle in the sale, pepper and chicken stock. Put the bacon and onion mix on top and cover. Return every 5 minutes to toss the cabbage around until it’s tender, cooked through, and the bacon/onion is evenly dispersed throughout. About 15 minutes. Once done, turn off the heat and keep the covered until ready to serve.
Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and place on a platter to cool, along with the figs, fennel and herb sprigs. Put the dutch oven on medium-low heat and whisk 1 Tbsp of flour into the drippings until it begins to brown and smell a bit like popcorn (this is called a “roux” and is used to thicken the sauce). Whisk the chicken stock in, 1/2 cup at a time, until the mix is smooth. Add the lemon juice, 1 Tbsp at a time until the sauce has a bright, clean flavor, but is not sour. Salt and pepper to taste.
At this time, the chicken should have rested for 10 minutes, and both the potatoes and cabbage should be done. Chop the leaves of the fresh oregano, discarding the stems, and toss the leaves with the potatoes. Plate with a small heap of the cabbage first, chicken on top with potatoes, fennel and fig to the side. Spoon a bit of the pan sauce over it and that’s it.
The sauce is my favorite part of this dish. It’s so velvety and complements the chicken perfectly. This, of course, is the first of many dishes I hope to share with you from this kitchen. We’re heading into Fall and I have so many things I want to make, and I wish I could serve them to you all directly. Jules has made similar comments, and we really do mean it. But even though there may be a lot of geography between us, hopefully you can make this meal for you and your loved ones, and we can share a meal together that way.
Cheers, all. To many more meals in the future.
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