I know it may sound weird to quite a few of you reading this but I get really excited about May-October in Chicago. It’s not just for the obvious reasons…the weather, Taste of Chicago, the lakefront, Chicago White Sox or the football in September. It’s because the city is ALIVE with all of the farmers markets. Whereas, there used to be only one or two; by late May you can find one almost every day within or outside the city. If you are cooking for yourself or the entire family, it is so convenient to step out on your lunch break or before you go home & pick up veggies and herbs for the night’s dinner.
So, many of you know that I am a huge advocate of purchasing vegetable from a major grocery chain only as a last resort. My suggestion is find a nearby produce market and get your vegetables. In MOST cases, the vegetable are fresher, brighter, less expensive and the taste better! It fits all of the dynamics you look for when purchasing food. Farmers markets make it more fun because they are generally outside, super high quality, affordable and the farmers are incredibly helpful. Many growers are so accommodating, that in Chicago, they accept LINK cards. That means there are no excuses from ANY socio-economic background to get fresh, affordable vegetables. I truly respect what the city is trying to do with making vegetables more accessible. Here is a site with all of the Chicago markets locations and dates, www.chicagofarmersmarkets.us or you can call 312-744-3370. If you are outside Chicago, I encourage you to do a search for farmers markets on your state sponsored website, then choose your location. All of the states have them. For our international readers in France, you have markets on every other corner, so you really don’t need direction.
I had the opportunity to get some market shopping done over the weekend. I even tweeted about the items I purchased. On May 20th, there will be a new section titled “Farmers Market Recipes”, in which we’ll list what we made with the items we picked up. Some dishes will be easy and a few will push your culinary skills. EVERYTHING will taste great! This also sends a message to the stores that sell you food. If you are purchasing less from them, they will want to know where you are making your vegetable purchases. Oh and by the way, I AM NOT A VEGETARIAN. I am just a chef that wants to share information, to help enrich your culinary experiences. And who are we kidding, if it tastes good, it’s good for you and less expensive…we’ll eat it all the time.
Now, a few of you are probably wondering what I purchased that sparked all of this. I know…I know, it’s like “ok dude, what did you buy or what did you make?” Let’s start with the list then I’ll give one of the recipes. Honey Melon Sage, Purple & Green Asparagus, Green Garlic, Mizuna, Sorrel, Apple cider, Shitake & Oyster mushrooms, Wasabi Goat Cheese, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Baby Seedless Cucumbers, Leeks, Rosemary Parmesan Ciabatta Bread, Grape Tomatoes & Morel Mushrooms.
Herb Roasted Chicken with Sorrel Sauce
1 whole chicken (3-3 ½ lbs, cut in half, so the each half has 4 pieces)
2T each – fresh rosemary, thyme, tarragon (mince the herbs and mix into 2T olive oil)*
3 medium shallots (minced)
3T leeks (cleaned and minced)
10-12 Sorrel leaves (rolled tight and thinly sliced)
2T each unsalted butter & extra virgin olive oil
2 cups white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup oyster mushrooms (minced)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Place herb paste* under the skin of the chicken. Season the outside with salt and pepper.
Place a 10-12 sauté/frypan on medium heat for 2 min, then add 2T olive oil. Tilt pan so the base is covered
Place chicken skin side down and let cook for 3-5min, until a nice crust has formed. Do not turn until then
After crust has formed, turn chicken so skin side is up, place in oven to cook 60 min. When you remove it from the oven let it rest on a cutting board for 10min before you slice or chop it.
Place sauté pan on medium heat for 1 min. Add olive oil & butter to hot pan.
Add, shallots, leeks, salt and pepper. Let cook for 2-3min. Next add mushrooms. Cook for 3min.
Add 1 cup chk stock, plus 1 cup of wine. Increase the flame and let reduce by half. Add the other cup wine to reduce mixture. Let reduce by 1/3. Lower flame
Add sliced sorrel, a bit more thyme, salt & pepper to taste
When chicken has rested, you can slice it to serve spoon the sauce over it. My suggestion is to rough chop it and toss it with some of the sauce and then serve it. That way the diners can get a mixture of white and dark meat, thereby tasting how the sauce really works enriching the overall flavor of the chicken. Reserve some sauce to spoon over the vegetable as well. I serve this with “Domaine De Poix, Touraine Sauvignon”. It’s a very affordable white wine.
Stay close because more recipes and dining suggestions will constantly be uploaded to the recipe section of www.taleof2chefs.com.