Sammie's Autumn Chicken Bake
Far be it from me to ever be qualified enough to decide to write an article about cooking. If any of you out there are now the grown up Boy Scouts from Troop 1201 of Fullerton, CA, you may remember my cooking skills were pretty much non-existent. But a hungry Boy Scout will eat anything warm that has a semblance of flavor when he is sitting in a frozen meadow at 10,000+ feet up in the High Sierra, miles away from any civilized eatery. And me, as an Assistant Scoutmaster had no business trying to convince these poor lads that what I put before them was real food. But that was back in the seventies when none of us knew any better.
But where food is concerned, I think that my qualifications lie more in the consumption of it. I think that I am somewhat of an expert on the subject, and can intelligently discuss eating with the utmost confidence. Tonight as I sat in front of the television watching “The Biggest Loser” with a plate full of last night’s leftover fried chicken on my lap and a diet Coke, I realized that I owed it to my loyal readers to share Sammie’s recipe for one of the best meals that I have had in eons. And, coincidentally, her recipe took the Blue Ribbon Prize this last weekend at the Lulawissie Harvest Fair Fall Cook-off. (I missed the judging, though. I was in the beer tent.).
It is something that she just made up, but I call it “Sammie’s Autumn Root Bake”. What she did was combine two of each of the following, cut up into one inch chunks:
Carrots (about 5 or 6)
Butternut Squash (only 1 if it is big)
Then you put them in a large baking pan and slather them with:
Salt and Pepper to taste
And you let them sit for a while to “marinate”.
While the aforementioned malage is marinating, rub the same mixture of spices and oil into two large bone-in split chicken breasts (skin on, of course!). Clear a spot in the baking pan for the two breasts and cover them with the vegetable mixture.
Cover the pan with foil or a lid and put the whole thing in a 350° oven for two hours. After 45 minutes, add:
2 Cups of Apple Juice
And let it continue to bake.
Uncover the pan during the last 40 minutes to allow the chicken and veggies to brown.
Sammie has had her best luck using the Tyson’s All Natural split breasts. The meat always comes out plump and moist. (No, this is not a Tyson’s commercial). I suppose that you could substitute the split breasts with boneless/skinless chicken breasts if you’re a sissy and are worried about fat, but there really is nothing else in this recipe that is fattening besides the fat from the chicken skin. It is all root vegetables and squash, and the explosion of flavors in your mouth will make you keep going back for “just another taste”.
To serve, slice the chicken breasts as if you were carving a turkey. Two breasts will be more than enough for two or three people. Sammie and I share one breast for supper and share the other for lunch the next day. The root veggies and squash mixture is very filling and satisfying.
Sammie complimented the meal with her Buckwheat Cornbread (gluten and wheat free). It was absolutely mah-velous! If you would like the cornbread recipe, just let me know.
The Lulawissie Harvest Fair was a good one this year. We had a lot of people come over from Snipesville and Pridgen to take advantage of the free beer and food sampling. But that’s what it’s all about. The Lulawissians are always happy to greet new people and make new friends. Like the billboard out on the highway reads: “There are no strangers in Lulawissie. Just friends we haven’t met yet.”
As always my friends, I am glad to have you stop by and say hello. Remember to always do a good deed for a stranger, and be thankful to the Good Lord for everything, good or bad. Be sure to always do good work and stay healthy.
I bid you peace.
© 2011 by Del Banks