No. 3 & 4: Mustard-Roasted Chicken & Roasted Butternut Squash

Mr. McCormick is all in on this resolution of mine.

Before I tell you exactly how I know, I'll let you in on a secret. Shh, come closer. Very few people know this.

I'm notorious for missing one key ingredient when I cook something. This happens to a lot of people, but I have made it an art form.

The worst part is, I always seem to have talked up the dish so it has all kinds of hype around it.

"This lemon and rosemary chicken is going to be great, babe. You will not believe it. Aud made it for James and it was so good. I just ... wait! Where is the lemon?"

Inevitably I will have used the last lemon the night before, or in my lunch that day, or in some other ridiculous way.

We don't have white wine?

Which brings us to last night.

True to my story above, this chicken calls for dry white wine. And of course, we had used (drunk) all the wine from the bottle that I used for the minestrone.

This is so typical it makes me laugh out loud.

Immediately, Mr. McCormick, who hates going to the store asked, "Want me to run and get some?"

Folks, after five years of marriage, it doesn't get any more romantic than this. When your husband offers to run an errand, it's just, oh gosh ... my knees are buckling.

So off he went while I prepped the rest of the dish, and the timing worked out perfectly. Even better, he brought back two bottles! All in all, we still had a tasty dinner in an hour's time.

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken

I love the idea of oven roasted chicken, it just never turns out quite right. Ina's Foolproof convinced me that I could do it.

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (3 1/2-4 pound) chicken, cut in eights*

*I used a package of 5 large chicken thighs, bone in, with the skin on

To make

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the garlic, thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until the garlic is finely minced. Add the panko, lemon zest, olive oil and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the bread flakes. Pour the mixture into a large plate. In a shallow bowl, mix together the mustard and wine.

Crumbs

(Lemon, thyme and butter crumbs smell wonderful)

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepepr.

Chicken

Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to generously coat on all sides, then place skin side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on a sheet pan, crumb side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Raise the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 3.

Roasted Butternut Squash

I love butternut squash. I order it on every menu where it appears. I just don't make it very often for some unknown reason.

When I purchased squash for the winter minestrone, this recipe was right behind the Safeway label. It called for only 10 minutes of roasting. I thought, "Well, ok, I can do that."

Ingredients

3-4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 cloves finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper*

*We love pepper, so I went with 1 teaspoon and put it on the squash right before cooking.

To make

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Spice mix

(At this point, I was pretty sure I had something wrong. I wasn't convinced this would coat all the squash. But it did.)

Place squash in the bowl and toss to coat. Spread squash on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Squash on foil

Roast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check squash for doneness by piercing with a fork. It should be tender.

The results

I'm waiting for the inevitable crash and burn recipe where things go hilariously wrong. Luckily, this wasn't that day.

Chickenandsquash

The chicken was a tad over browned (something to watch out for), but not burnt. It was moist and tender, which is so hard to accomplish sometimes with chicken. The lemon/thyme crust smelled amazing while it cooked and was very good (albeit messy).

Mr. McCormick is not usually a fan of butternut squash, but he loved this sweet and savory flavor. The extra pepper was key.

The Barefoot Contessa continues to prove that her Foolproof recipes really are just that. But it's time to move on to other sources over the weekend.

Happy Friday!

PS. The globs were a perfect dessert after this meal.

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com