Thursday, September 6, 2012

Five Spice Chicken and Roasted Eggplant Salad

This Sunday's Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market will be extra fun because it coincides with Eugene Sunday Streets, but be forewarned that Agate will be closed to cars from 19th to 24th from noon to 4 PM.  You can look forward to the following offerings from Sweetwater Farm and Fair Valley Farm:

  • cantaloupe and honeydew mellons
  • Italian prune plums (bake a plum cake)
  • kohlrabi (delicious in salads)
  • baby carrots
  • eggplants (try the roasted eggplant salad below)
  • corn and cucumbers
  • tomatoes (20 lb for $20 for many varieties, 10 lb for $15 San Marzano romas) 
  • peppers both sweet and spicy (make this roasted pepper and fresh tomato pasta)
  • baby lettuce salad mix
  • zucchini and summer squash (try shredded)
  • green beans, yellow wax beans, and romanos
  • red, white, and blue potatoes
  • sweet white onions, garlic, fennel, and leeks
  • fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, dill, thyme, oregano, and sage
  • tomato sauce and pesto
  • naturally fermented pickles, dilly beans, and sauerkraut
  • homemade jams
  • Scottish oats (try these Swedish pancakes)
  • a selection of dried beans and grains from Camas Country Mill
  • pastured chicken (try the five spice chicken recipe below)
  • pastured pork: bacon, ground pork, pork chops, shoulder roasts, ham roasts, spare ribs, and the best sausage for hash
  • pastured lamb: ground, stew meat, leg roast, rib chops, loin chops

Every recipe has its own story of its origins, when it was prepared, and who it nourished. This recipe for five spice roasted chicken and ginger scented rice comes from my friend Katharine, who I met with a group of new mothers through the well baby clinic at the PeaceHealth Birth Center when it was still at its old location in a charming Victorian on 12th Street. We all bonded over our concern for the Birth Center's future and, working together on this cause, became friends. Our children outgrew the scales at baby clinic, the new Birth Center was eventually built, and this recipe circulated among us. Katharine delivered it to Renee after the birth of her second daughter. Elly played with it, using wheat berries as a local substitute for rice. Now that we have a supply of delicious chickens from Fair Valley Farm at the Fairmount Farmers Market, I wanted to share this recipe with you.

First I bought a new pair of poultry sheers, since the last ones had been worn down by too many of my daughter's craft projects, and then I studied this excellent video on cutting up a whole chicken. Once the bird was disassembled, the rest was straight forward. I marinated the chicken pieces overnight, which allowed this dinner to come together easily on a weeknight. And while I had the oven on, I also roasted some eggplant and broccoli for a salad inspired by this one from Melissa Clark. The roasted eggplant is the heart of this salad, and you could substitute in roasted peppers or zucchini for the broccoli, or prepare it, like Clark does, was fresh cherry tomatoes. Enjoying this delicious meal and watching my son gnaw on a drum stick, I had to marvel for a moment at how the babies have grown since this recipe started circulating.

Five Spice Roast Chicken
from Katharine Gallagher
1 small chicken (2 to 3 lb), cut into pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp coarse kosher salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Chinese five-spice powder

2 onions, each cut into 16 pieces

1. Combine the garlic, salt, olive oil, and Chinese five-spice powder in a large bowl or bag for marinating. Add the chicken pieces; turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the onion wedges in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the onions. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 35 minutes for a 2 lb bird; add about 10 minutes per pound. The onions should char a little at edges. 

3. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. Arrange the chicken and onions on a platter and serve with ginger scented rice.

Ginger Scented Rice
from Katharine Gallagher
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and finely minced or grated
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the ingredients, cover and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Roasted Eggplant and Broccoli Salad
adapted from Melissa Clark
1 eggplant
1 bunch broccoli (or substitute red peppers or zucchini)
1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
~3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil (or to taste)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese black vinegar
2 tsp rice wine
large handful of chopped cilantro leaves

1. Slice the ends off the eggplant, cut it lengthwise into about eight pieces and the cut the pieces widthwise to produce about 3/4 inch wide wedges. Wash the broccoli and cut into bite sized florets. Place the eggplant and broccoli pieces on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and toss with olive oil to coat. Place the unpeeled garlic clove on the baking sheet as well. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked through and slightly charred. Remove from the oven.

2. Peel the roasted garlic clove and in large serving bowl mash it with a fork. Add in the sesame oil, hot chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and rice wine and whisk together the ingredients with the mashed garlic to make a dressing. Toss the roasted vegetables with the dressing. Just before serving, toss in the chopped cilantro leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Elly said...

I love, love, love the story of this dinner--and of course our intertwined friendships. Lovely post.

Anna said...

What a perfect weeknight meal. And I agree with Elly, what a wonderful story of food for new mothers.