Ina Garten Recipe #31 – Perfect Roast Chicken

This recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 130.

It’s been a minute since I’ve made an Ina Garten recipe, hasn’t it?

In fact, I think this is the first recipe I made of hers in the month of February. Guess I won’t be matching or beating last month’s total of 8 recipes!

Anyway, I decided to make an Ina classic this time. In fact, I think many fans of her show would argue that this is one of her signature dishes. Roast Chicken!!

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Recipes #6 and #7 – Fingerling Potatoes, and Peas and Pancetta

Fingerling Potatoes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 159 AND Peas & Pancetta from Make it Ahead, page 158.

To pair with my Turkey Meat Loaf, I decided I needed potatoes. After all, is a classic American dinner like meat load complete if there are no potatoes? I think not.

Luckily, Ina has numerous recipes involving potatoes. I chose for a simpler one, but also a somewhat non-traditional one since meat loaf is usually served with mashed potatoes.

Ina’s fingerling potatoes are just about as basic as you can get and it was lovely anyway. I purchased fingerling potatoes from the store and sliced them before cooking to save time. Since I had more time in the morning, after slicing them in half I filled a pot with cold water and let them sit in there on the stove (it was off) until I needed them for dinner. The potatoes were cooked until fork tender, I drained them, let them steam for a few moments while I was working on the Peas & Pancetta, then tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper.

They paired really well with the meat loaf and it was probably the most basic recipe Ina has.

The Peas & Pancetta is where we bring in the “gourmet” that is typical of Ina Garten’s recipes. Pancetta is not something that I typically cook with, so going to the store to get pancetta would have been a hurdle. I’m not sure if the deli department in the grocery store would have it. Luckily, I didn’t have to find out because where the cheeses are on display with the other cured meats, they had prepackaged pancetta already diced just how I needed it!

It was a win for me and what a great way to start the day!

When it came time to make the veggie, I sliced up the shallot and threw it into the pan with some oil, I added the pancetta and shortly after I heard little crackling noises of the pancetta searing. Once the shallot turned translucent, I added the peas, the salt, pepper, and mint. I gave some time for the peas to defrost (since they were frozen) and cook. Almost as soon as the peas were ready, the meatloaf was done.

I plated everything and served it to my family. Everyone liked it. The pancetta was a welcome change to our usual routine of having plain peas or just something out of a steamer-bag. I do think I had too many peas…I used a larger bag than called for, but it was all I was able to find in the freezer. Oh well, I got the gist of the taste.

You may be wondering if made a dessert for this meal.

Well, I did…sort of. But it wasn’t made the same day as these. I made it Friday morning, which I will discuss on Monday’s post!

Recipe # 5 – Turkey Meat Loaf

From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, page 138-139

I have to admit, I was not as productive this week when it came to cooking. I made dinner for the household last night and it took me quite some time to figure out what I wanted to make.

Did I want a one-pot meal type of thing? Or did I want to combine a couple recipes as an easy way to knock out more than in one day?

Well, after some deliberating and flipping through numerous pages of cookbooks, I decided I would combine three recipes to make a full meal. I also decided that I would probably be easiest for me if I kept the recipes to the same book.

That was the real challenge, though!

The first hurdle was figuring out what the main course would be. Eventually, I stumbled upon the Turkey Meat Loaf recipe out of Ina’s first cookbook. Next came figuring out the sides. Seeing as I wanted to keep the recipes in the same book, I found a recipe for fingerling potatoes which I thought would complement the meat loaf well. Tried as I might to find a vegetable recipe that interested me to pair with the meat loaf and potatoes, I realized that the The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook would not be doing it. Eventually, I found a recipe in Make it Ahead for peas and pancetta. (Post about making the fingerling potatoes and peas dish coming Sunday!)

The turkey meat loaf recipe, as written, serves a small army of 8 to 10 people (though I think that would allow for large portions), so I decided to cut the recipe in half since I only needed to feed three and I knew I would still have leftovers.

I needed a few items at the grocery store for this one, so I went and picked up the ground turkey, grown thyme, the Worcestershire sauce, and ingredients for the other recipes. When I returned home, I started to create the meat loaf, even though dinner was hours away, I figured it wouldn’t harm anything to let the meatloaf sit in the fridge for a few hours while the flavors mingled with each other.

I cooked the onions and spices as directed, letting things go for a little longer than recommended in the recipe. It wasn’t until I added the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce that things really started to heat up — or I guess in my case, smell up!

While the onion mixture was cooling, I mixed the ground meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and then added the onion mixture. I formed it into a loaf shape on a cookie sheet, spread ketchup on top and placed in the fridge with a piece of foil.

When dinner time arrived, I set the oven to the 325 degrees, as the recipe states. Now, since I halved the recipe, I assumed it would take about 50 minutes to cook fully. Well, that wasn’t the case. It look over an hour and the full recipe says the 5-pound meat loaf would only take 90 minutes! I think my oven temperature may be off, or Ina uses a really high-scale oven….probably both.

Once the meat loaf was done and plated, I tried some. I was impressed with how moist it was. There wasn’t a salty flavor that is usually present in the meat loafs (loaves?) I make following the Lipton soup recipe. It paired nicely with the sides I had chosen…again separate post coming at you tomorrow about that!

I think this recipe will be made frequently in my life. It’s pretty easy and really flavorful. I wonder if the flavors would be more pronounced if I had made the larger loaf? Maybe one day I’ll find out!

(Sorry, readers, no picture of this. The house was crazy around dinner time and I was also dealing with a pot of boiling potatoes and cooking a vegetable.)

Recipe #1 – Homemade Applesauce

Yesterday was the first of many recipes on this very long journey. For my first recipe I felt strongly that I wanted it to be one from Ina’s first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. So, I got it off the shelf and started paging through it. However, I quickly realized a slight problem. Many of the recipes called for ingredients that are “fresher” and “in season” during the summer months.

Now, yes, it is technically still summer (at least until Tuesday!), and I could (in theory) get some of these items now. But doing so I would break one of Ina’s cardinal rules: always use the freshest ingredients possible. So I continued on paging through the book until I stumbled upon an applesauce recipe.

With Fall just around the corner, apples are starting to come in season here in New England and the ones this recipe calls for tend to be “always in season.” So that is what I decided to make.

Her apple sauce recipe is overall quite easy to make. The most annoying aspect was peeling the apples (I had 14 to do!), but it was totally worth the effort. The addition of butter in the pot makes the sauce smooth and helps layer some of the spices included. The added lemon juice and orange zest give it an especially interesting taste. In fact, one of my first thoughts after tasting it was “This tastes like gourmet.”

I also love any excuse to break out my Dutch oven and since the apples cooked for 90 minutes in it, it’s starting to move beyond being used only to make bread.

1 recipe down, 1,055 to go!