Plucky Mole Roasted Chicken

Much has been written on the perfect roasted chicken, but I do believe this one comes very close: moist, deeply savory meat with crisp, salty skin, with almost no effort at all. The key is finding prepared mole at your local Mexican grocer; all of the ones I frequent sell tubs of dark brown, thick, Oaxacan style mole that is just perfect to spoon under the skin. You could, of course, make the mole yourself, but when it’s this good and this easy, why bother? We especially like the chicken from Plucky, available here at the market.

Ingredients

1 whole young chicken, preferably organic, about 3 pounds
3 tablespoons prepared mole, available at Mexican grocer’s
1 orange, cut into quarters, for stuffing
drizzle of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Process

Preheat oven to 400, rinse off the bird in cold running water, and dry it thoroughly with paper towels, including inside the cavity. Set it breast up on a roasting pan outfitted with a rack.

Gently separate the skin (see note below). Spoon the mole under the skin – aim for maximum coverage. Stuff the orange quarters into the cavity, and rub the entire chicken with olive oil. Liberally salt and pepper, and roast for roughly 35 minutes. Look at it occasionally to make sure the skin isn’t burning (if it is, make a little tent with aluminum foil for it). Increase temperature to 425, remove it from the oven, flip it over (breast side down), and roast for another 30, 35 minutes or so, or until it’s become deeply browned.
Remove and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve as you like, squeeze the baked oranges over the meat, and salt and pepper to taste.

Separating the skin:

With the breast side up and using your fingers, very gently begin to pull the skin away from the meat, inch by inch. I sometimes use a small sharp pairing knife to slice the muscle that holds the two together, although with enough patience this can be done with the fingers, too. The idea is to completely separate the skin from the meat, so that it’s simply laying on top. You want the mole mixture to cover the meat, and the skin to act as a “lid” – the fat will begin to render, mix with the sauce, and continually self-baste the meat.

Recipe provided by Eric Gower.

Pomegranate Relish

This recipe came from our 2011 Local Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge. Betsy Threadgill shared this recipe with AIM staff in her winning entry. It is a great substitute for cranberry sauce for those Holiday meals(California does not produce cranberries).

Ingredients

seeds of 1-2 pomegranates
1-2 Tablespoons orange zest, adjust for taste
1-2 Tablespoons orange juice, about 1/2 of navel orange
1/2 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon honey, adjust for taste
1/2 tsp salt

Cooking Process

Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate until ready to serve.
Excellent served with turkey, pork, or lamb.

Orange-Yogurt Pancakes

At our February 1st Eat Local 101 Booth Eric Gower shared this recipe with our customers. The Greek yogurt makes these orange-infused pancakes super fluffy and tangy—does breakfast get any better? Try them with warm maple syrup, ginger syrup, or jaggery syrup, and boatloads of berries (blueberries are especially nice) on top. Makes 4 medium pancakes, enough for two healthy appetites, so double (or triple) if necessary.

Ingredients

Zest of 1 large orange
Juice of 1 large orange (about ½ cup)
1 egg
1 cup Greek (strained) yogurt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
1 cup flour, organic if possible
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous pinch of kosher salt
additional butter for the pan
additional yogurt for garnish
heated maple (or other) syrup

Cooking Process

Combine the zest, juice, egg, yogurt, brown sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl, and whisk until well combined. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then add this to the liquid ingredients. Mix until just combined; don’t over mix. It should be rather thick.

Heat a skillet (or several, if you want to make several of them at the same time), add a little butter, and spoon on some batter.

Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Transfer to hot plates and spoon on some berries. Serve with little bowls of extra yogurt, and warm maple (or other) syrup.

Recipe provided by Eric Gower.

Fennelled Greens and Oranges

The crunch of the raw fennel, combined with the toothy goodness of the greens that have been infused with fruity olive oil and freshly ground fennel seeds and then tarted up with orange zest and juice, will bring you back to this dish again and again. In this version I use collards greens, which I especially love, but the dish can be made with equal success using chard, mustard greens, kale, raab, Asian greens, spinach, or any other leafy green you can think of. Lavender salt adds a nice floral touch, but you certainly don’t need it: sel gris, kosher, or any other salt are all fine.

Ingredients

3 large bunches collard (or other) greens, tough backbones removed
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced as thinly as possible
3 tablespoons fruity green extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown rice (or other) vinegar
Juice of one small orange
Zest of one small orange
1 teaspoon (or more) fennel seeds, ground
Lavender (or other) salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black peppercorns

Cooking Process

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add the greens, and cook briefly, about three or four minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and with your hands squeeze out as much water as possible—really get most of it out, so that it will act like a sponge. Transfer to a cutting board, chop it roughly, place in a pretty serving bowl, and add the sliced fennel. In a jar shake up the oil, vinegar, and orange juice, add to the greens, and mix. Sprinkle in the fennel powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust each of these to your taste. Top with the orange zest. Serves 5 or 6 as a hearty side dish.

Recipe provided by Eric Gower.