Recently, a dear lady in the church was in the hospital and when our pastors went to visit her, she had herself fixed up as if she wasn’t in the hospital at all, but as if she were receiving her visitors in her home on a regular Saturday afternoon. This dear lady has been with and served the church longer than I’ve been alive. She’s of that generation that one always puts one’s best self forward; I hope I can be like that someday…
We no less organized some meals for her hospital discharge (just in time for Father’s Day) to honor such a generous spirit. It was a joy for me to break out my World Market Vertical Ceramic Chicken Roaster (in Persimmon) to roast a delicious chicken dinner for her. I filled the inner cavity with a mixture of half pineapple juice, half malt vinegar. You can put anything you want really in the inner cup; it’s mainly used to steam and keep the inside of the bird moist while cooking (like the infamous Beer-Butt Chicken on the grill).
I rubbed grapeseed oil (I prefer grapeseed to olive oil for its mild flavor and greater tolerance to high-heat cooking) all over the chicken and dusted the outside with McCormick poultry seasoning. Typically, I would also rub in some Morton kosher salt, but low-sodium meals were requested. After placing the bird bottom-side down over the inner cup, I surrounded it on the outside with a mixture of kale, lima beans, quartered onion layers, peas, chopped carrots, and whole okra.
I drizzled the veggies in more grapeseed oil and popped the whole dish in a preheated 350° oven for 1.5hrs (until the thighs registered 160°. Chicken temperature standard is 165°, but if you pull it at 160° and let it rest, it will continue to cook up until it reaches 165° or greater. You’ll wind up with juicer chicken this way.) until the skin was nicely browned and crisp and the juices ran clear. I pulled out the dish and let the chicken rest while I baked a tray of cookies (recipe coming tomorrow!) to accompany the meal.
Once the chicken had rested and was cool enough for removing, I set it whole in a foil throwaway pan next to a bed of spaghetti noodles. I scooped up the mixed, roasted veggies and placed them atop the noodles and let all cool before closing the lid. The whole pan can either be reheated in the oven or you can carve off pieces to be warmed in the microwave.
I finished all with fresh oregano leaves and torn basil leaves. This meal is hearty and comforting without being too heavy for summertime. What’s your favorite meal to fix someone when they’re under-the-weather?