Two spring recipes: Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus; Pot-Roasted Chicken

Home for Passover means perusing my mother’s enormous cookbook collection.  I enjoyed thumbing through her worn copy of “Six O’Clock Solutions: Fast and Easy Dinners for Family and Friends” which got us through the busy years of Hebrew school and piano lessons, when the kids’ schedules never quite overlapped yet everyone needed to be fed.

I also thrilled to thumb through the pages of Outstanding in the Field Cookbook: A Farm to Table Cookbook by Jim Denevan with Marah Stets.  Jim travels the country in an old bus, setting elaborate white-table cloth dinners in farmer’s fields and orchards.  His philosophy of feeding people good food while connecting them with the people and places connected to that food clearly resonates (it’s the basis for Feast in the Field at ADAMAH and countless other farm-to-table feasts).  And the recipes look divine!

Happy Spring and Bon Appetit!

Radiatore Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus and Snow Peas
by Eve Johnson, The Vancouver Sun

4 cups radiatore (or other short stubby pasta)
1 pound asparagus; trimmed and cut diagonal
1/2 pound snow peas; trimmed
4 tablespoons olive oil; divided
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts; cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 small onion; sliced thin
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed hot red pepper

Cook radiatore in large amount of boding salted water for 6 minutes. Add asparagus and boil 2 minutes. Add snow peas and boil another 2 minutes. Drain pasta and vegetables and return to pot; add 1 tablespoon oil and toss.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in frypan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in rosemary and dried red pepper; sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken mixture to pasta and vegetables; toss.

Yield: 4 – 5 servings

Pot Roasted Chicken Drumsticks
by Jim Denevan, Outstanding in the Field Cookbook

2 carrots
1 large leek, white part only
2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed
2 cloves garlic
4 10-oz chicken legs (about 2.5lbs total)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock

Thinly slice the carrots at a slant.  Slice the leek in half lengthwise and rinse it under cold running water to remove any dirt or sand.  Slice accross at a slant the ha same thickness as the carrots.  Cut the fennel bulbs in half through the base, trim the core, and thinly slice lengthwise.  Peel the garlic cloves and crush them with the back of a knife.

Season the chicken with freshly ground black pepper.  In a large dutch oven with a tightly fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat to hot but not smoking.  Lay the chicken, skin side down, in the pot and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.  Turn over and brown on the other side, about 4 minutes.  Transfer  Addi chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the vegetables and the bay leaves to the pot with a pinch of salt and stir to coat with oil, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.  Cook until the vegetables begin to sweat, about 3 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pot along with any juices.  Pour in the wine and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender, about 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, place an oven rack in one of the top slots of the oven and preheat the broiler.  Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a baking tray.  Broil until the chicken until the skin is crisp and nicely darkened, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and spoon the vegetables and sauce into 4 warmed bowls.  Place the chicken on top.  Serve.

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