While his peers were out galavanting at local fast food joints, Jeremy holed up in his grandmother’s kitchen peeking into sweaty pots of sauce. Eclectic family meals resulted from his grandparents’ stints in Taiwan, Korea and Hawaii, which infused their traditional Italian palates, so the family would wind around the dinner table and share Italian anti-pasti from one plate and tuna sashimi from another. Jeremy’s mother inherited her own mother’s ability to imagine a meal that wouldn’t traditionally go together, which seeped into Jeremy as well.
This ability to create culinary delights can complicate matters at times. In fact, for their wedding rehearsal dinner Janna wanted a casual barbecue: chicken, potato salad, etc. What she got was Jeremy’s mom’s take on bbq: Cornish game hens and grilled portobello mushrooms, which were delectable of course. Then there was the uncle’s birthday gathering, a casual affair for which all were to bring a dish. Jeremy and Janna were charged with a salad. But not just any old salad, it had to be “an interesting bean salad,” his uncle said, which led to four days of internet searching for the perfect recipe. Jeremy now refers to that bean salad as a go-to recipe since his family approved.
Jeremy says they “didn’t concentrate on cooking as a family,” but for those who enter the family through marriage, the stakes remain high. Because they’re surrounded by such wonderful food, new family members take on a rite of passage as they try to match our outdo their relatives. As a result, the family is full of outstanding cooks; though, no one outwardly congratulates those who “earn their stripes.” It’s understood that “this is what the family does,” and once your dish is in, you’re in too.
All of this set the precedent for Jeremy’s Never-fail Chicken, which—after much trial and toss—he created from two recipes. He wanted a simple roast chicken recipe that he could dress up or down depending on the occasion. He’s served the moist lemony poultry to friends and family so many times he couldn’t recount them, but what he does recall are the compliments. People fawn over the fowl with its crisp skin, subtle flavor. Jeremy loves this crowd pleaser, but he also relishes this recipe because it brings together two of his values: healthy eating and getting the most out of a meal. He and Janna can eat from a single roast chicken for a whole week, enjoying it with salad one night and over quinoa or in a stir fry the next.
Jeremy’s rich culinary history and joy around cooking reminds us why we should all revisit our own kitchens a little more often.
See Part 1 for Jeremy’s take on whole food and friendship.
Jeremy’s Never Fail Roast Chicken
- 1 whole organic chicken 4lbs
- 1 lemon (organic)
- 1 yellow onion (organic)
- Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees-rinse chicken with water, pat dry inside and out. Place chicken in roasting pan (I use a clear 9×13 pyrex). Quarter the onion, quarter the lemon; squeeze lemon juice onto chicken from each quartered lemon. Stuff the chicken cavity alternately with lemon and onion until fully stuffed. Sprinkle salt over chicken. Place chicken in oven for one hour and fifteen minutes. Skin should be golden brown. Let the chicken rest for 15-20min before carving. Serve.
Optional- I choose to cook potatoes, sweet potatoes or other root vegetables with the chicken. Cut potatoes into smaller pieces and add to pan before placing pan into oven. Let cook with chicken.
Don’t be shocked about how juicy the chicken is when you cut into it. You might even think it’s not thoroughly cooked. It will be. Enjoy the easiest (and tastiest) roasted chicken you’ve ever had.