Last time, I talked about the slow cooker and its superior qualities. Hopefully there was some pleasure and reward taken from those recipes. After the slow cooker, the oven is where I’d like to turn to next. Even though the slow cooker is awesome, it’s nice to change it up every now and then. These recipes pertaining to the oven are a little more hands-on and time consuming, but are fantastic and easy to throw together. Get a few friends together and have everybody chip in on the price and the prep-work. Camaraderie and cooking go together like peas and carrots.
• 1 whole chicken, innards removed
• 3 russet potatoes, cubed
• 6 carrots, chopped
• few stalks of celery, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 1 can chicken broth
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 6 twigs fresh rosemary
• salt and pepper
• handful brown sugar (optional)
NOTE: As some of you may know, rosemary is growing all over this town. If you don’t know what it looks like, Google it. And when you think you’ve found it, but aren’t sure, smell it. Rosemary has a very unique smell. If you lightly rub your hand over the plant and the smell sticks to your hand, it’s probably rosemary. Once you find it, snap off a few twigs.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Make sure the innards are removed from the cavity of the chicken. Rub down entire (outside) of chicken with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. With the chopped garlic, rub the chicken on all sides and at the same time you will be rubbing in the salt and pepper. Add the excess garlic to the pan. Remove the leaves of the rosemary from half of the stems you collected. Instead of just rubbing it onto the outside of the chicken like the salt and pepper, make sure you get the rosemary up under the skin on the breast and legs (there will usually be a flap of skin at the bottom of the breast that you can pull back slightly). Take the other half of the rosemary (still on the stems) and set them up inside the cavity. Stuff the onion inside chicken’s cavity as well. I like to use the brown sugar as a final coat on the chicken. The sugar will caramelize, making the skin crispier. Set the chicken in a 9”x13” cooking pan. Add potatoes, carrots, celery and chicken broth to the pan. Add enough water to cover vegetables about half way. Bake for two hours.
• 1 large tomato, sliced
• olive oil
• balsamic vinegar (optional)
• salt and pepper
• Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
• blue cheese, crumbled
NOTE: You can use any kind of cheese you like. I chose these two because they are two of my favorite cheeses that complement each other nicely. It is up to you how much cheese is added to each slice. The same goes for the rest of the ingredients. Use good judgment, don’t overdo it, and it will turn out great.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place slices of tomato an inch apart on a 15” x 10”baking sheet or aluminum foil of equivalent size. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and (optional) balsamic vinegar. Lightly sprinkle oregano on each slice. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle Colby-Jack on each tomato slice (the amount is up to you). Place crumbles of blue cheese on to each tomato slice. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the cheese starts to turn golden-brown.
Bacon Asparagus Bunches
• 1 bunch asparagus
• olive oil
• bacon, halved and uncooked
NOTE: It seems the general consensus that anything with bacon always tastes better. When placing bunches on baking sheet, separation is important. If they are too close together, they will steam instead of bake, and could come out of the oven a bit soggy.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash asparagus. Chop off the bottom few inches of asparagus with a knife (the bottom of the stalk is usually tough and stringy). Start with four pieces of bacon, slicing them in half (cut more if needed, it depends on how much asparagus came in the bunch). With a half piece of bacon, wrap three to four pieces of asparagus together, half way up the stalk. Repeat this process until all asparagus is wrapped into groups of three to four. Place asparagus bunches at least one inch apart on 15” x 10” baking sheet or aluminum foil of equivalent size (you may have to use an extra baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil). Lightly drizzle each bunch with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle salt over each bunch. Again, separation is important. Cook 10-12 minutes or until bacon is crisp.
Baked Barbeque Ribs
Yes, ribs! Juicy, succulent, messy deliciousness—ribs. According to national barbecue experts, there are only two kinds of ribs: wet and dry. Both are great, but here, we’ll concentrate on dry. Even without a grill or smoker, you can still have your ribs and eat them too.
• 1 rack of ribs
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 1 cup brown sugar
NOTE: The measurements pertain to one rack. If you’re planning on big eaters showing up, remember those math skills. Just because this is a recipe for dry ribs does not mean you can’t get a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce as a side. Better yet, maybe some of you have a great homemade recipe. As I mentioned earlier, the brown sugar will caramelize and hold in the flavor. If you have a charcoal grill, throw them on there for half an hour after you pull them out of the oven. Either way, they will be fall-off-the-bone, finger-licking good.
Preheat oven to 300 F. Remove ribs from package, give them a quick rinse in the sink, and pat them dry with a paper towel. In a bowl, combine all spices except brown sugar. Using your hands, liberally rub spices all over ribs (more liberally on the topside, but don’t neglect the bottom). Place ribs in some kind of baking dish long enough for the whole rack (a cookie sheet will work although you may have to periodically remove some of the juices as they accumulate in the pan). Spread brown sugar evenly along the topside of the rack. Bake for two hours. After two hours, drain the drippings and bake another 30 minutes with oven door open, allowing some of the moisture to escape.Contact Josh Wolfe.