spring-chicken5Sunday dinner was inspired by some hot sale items, $0.99/lb whole chicken and $1.49 asparagus. Add some mushrooms, herbs, and polenta from the pantry and you’ve got four plates for $10!

To recreate in 3 easy steps:

  1. Roast the chicken. Generously season a 4 lb bird with salt & pepper. Stuff the cavity with any fresh herbs you may have (I used parsley and thyme). Give a good rub with olive oil. Roast, breast-side up, at 400F for 1/2 hour. Flip the bird (with tongs), turn oven to 350F, and roast another 1/2 hour. At this point I like to flip again, baste the breast and roast another 1/2 hour to brown the skin.
  2. Make the ragout. Prep the veggies while the chicken roasts; cook in the last 10 minutes of chicken-roasting time. You will need:  1 chopped onion, 8 oz quartered baby bella mushrooms, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 bunch asparagus sliced into 1 1/2″ pieces (stems separated from tips), 1/3 cup broth, and a small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley. Saute the onion in some olive oil until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until they release juices. Season with salt & pepper. Pour in the wine and stir up all the brown bits. Add asparagus stems and broth. Cover and steam 3 minutes. Add tips and steam 3 more minutes. Uncover and stir until the broth thickens.
  3. Make the polenta. Begin the polenta AFTER you pull the bird from the oven (polenta, if let to sit, will firm up); this also gives the meat time to rest. Simply follow directions on the package. To make life easier, buy the quick-cooking variety. I cooked my polenta for literally one minute in vegetable broth and then added some fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

After the bird has rested at least 10 minutes, carve away. I like to remove the breasts and slice on a cutting board, then keep the legs, thighs and wings whole. To plate, place a few spoonfuls of polenta on the center of the plate, top with vegetable ragout, and then with slices of breast meat and a chicken leg or thigh. Spoon any vegetable ragout juices and chicken drippings over the meat. Serves 4.

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