A slow roasted chicken is a classic Christmas dinner, but can be a lot of work. This Sunday Best recipe changes your notion of what it takes to get a yummy bird on the holiday table. While I was able to publish it with my own lip smacking modifications, I must give credit where credit is due. This chicken recipe comes directly from New Life Farm in Boone, North Carolina where I like to summer in the mountains.
It’s amazing in its simplicity, and yet the end result is a melt-in-your mouth, highly flavored chicken, just like the one you get from the deli rotisserie in the grocery store. If your slow cooker is large enough, jam two chickens into the pot, and have enough to jump start several mid-week meals. My newly released cookbook features ideas with what to do with all that delicious shredded chicken meat, such as Buffalo Chicken Hash, and Truffle Roasted Potatoes with shredded Rotisserie Chicken. Nothing says I’ll be home for Christmas, like seasoning these dishes with hot pepper sauce and fresh cilantro. This is what you’ll have to work with when you make this DISH OF THE DAY:
I might add that the rich broth left in the bottom of the slow cooker is the perfect ingredient to jump start soups or sauces. Place the stock into the fridge overnight. In the morning, skim off the fat layer and go to town preparing ultra-savory meals that will see you through the entire holiday season!
Without further adieu, here’s the recipe – if you don’t already have a crockpot order one, along with my book on Amazon ; )!!
Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
Note: If you are going to use two chickens, double up on all the ingredients in this recipe.
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse pepper
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
1 fennel bulb, tops trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Mix together the garlic, minced onion, salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side down into a slow cooker. Place the onion and fennel over the top and around the chicken. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours. Do not add any liquid. Get to work on those mashed potatoes and green beans to serve with X-mas dinner!
With 20 days until Christmas, it’s time to get into the spirit! My recipe for Baked Eggplant with Ricotta Cheese is perfect for a veggie weekday meal. You can prepare in the morning, and finish it in the oven for Tuesday’s dinner.
Before I dish out the recipe, here’s a gentle reminder to order your copy of SUNDAY BEST DISHES today! It’s the perfect Xmas gift for the foodie on your Christmas list! Jorj.com subscribers — OR any subscriber who emails me, actually — gets a FREE autographed bookplate to insert into the book! Send an email to Jorj.com that includes your mailing address and the name you want me to personalize!! Oh, and get cooking!
The prep work on this one fills your kitchen with an incredibly pleasing aroma. See what I mean?
Another bonus is that the herbs have an almost Christmasy look – well, in my holiday kitchen they do:
Baked Eggplant with Ricotta Cheese
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
This vegetarian delight is every bit as filling as traditional lasagna, and special because of its closeness, yet differences to eggplant parmesan. It’s ooey, gooey and totally yummy!
2 (1-pound) eggplants, sliced into ¼-inch rounds, about 27 slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups Italian style breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the eggplant slices with salt. Place into a colander in the sink for 1 hour. This will take the bitterness from the eggplant. Rinse the slices and pat dry. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Dredge the eggplant in the breadcrumbs, pushing the crumbs into each slice. Add as many eggplant slices that easily fit into your skillet. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other side until golden. (As the eggplant cooks, it will immediately absorb most of the oil. As it continues cooking, it will start to exude that oil back into the pan. Watch carefully as you cook.) Remove the eggplant to a baking sheet, lined with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Continue until all of the eggplant slices are browned. Add more oil as you cook a new batch.
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup organic half and half
1 large egg
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about ½ cup
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ½ cups marinara sauce
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Whisk together the ricotta cheese, half and half, egg, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Coat an 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Spoon ½ cup of the marinara into the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices into the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 1 cup marinara sauce. Place ½ of the mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Top with another layer of eggplant. Repeat with 1 cup marinara and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with the last layer of eggplant. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over top. Spoon the ricotta cheese topping over all. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the top is golden, about 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to the broil setting. Place the casserole under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the topping.
Let the casserole rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.