Peri Peri Roast Chicken w/ Kale Goat Cheese Pesto & Mushroom Ragu over Spaghetti Squash

After a long drive back from Atlanta and enduring everything from getting lost in Oklahoma to getting a speeding ticket in Colorado to being slowed by the snow all the way from Utah to Seattle, all I wanted to do when I got home was get in the kitchen! I recuperated for one day, but then hit the ground running with these original recipes. The chicken was moist and juicy, the Pesto was awesome and the Ragu had so many deep layers of flavor that it barely made it out of the pan and over the Spaghetti Squash.

Kale, Basil and Goat Cheese Pesto

Great over pastas, vegetables or meat.

10 cloves garlic
2 ounces basil
½ bunch of rainbow kale
¼-½ cup good olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 ounces soft goat cheese (such as Purple Haze)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, basil and kale until fine. With the motor still running, slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify. Once smooth and blended, add lemon juice and goat cheese and blend until incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
Yields: 2 cups
Time to make: 15 min

Porcini Mushroom Ragu

Serve over spaghetti squash, winter squash, alternative grains, pasta, or rice.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small Portabello mushrooms, cleaned and diced
1 cup White Button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 ounces dry Porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups of water
½ cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
dried oregano, basil and italian seasonings, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mushroom stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Saute the mushrooms until they are coated with oil, adding more if the pan becomes dry. Add onion and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes, until the mushrooms and onions are beginning to be tender. Add the dried herbs and salt and pepper.

Pour in 1 cup mushroom stock and stir in tomato paste and marinara sauce. Simmer over medium high heat so that the moisture evaporates and the mixture reduces, stirring occasionally so it does not burn. When the sauce has thickened, fold in the parsley and serve over starch of choice.

Yields: 4 servings
Time to make: 30 min

Peri Peri Roast Chicken with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

3-4 pound chicken
Peri Peri Spice Rub by Rub with Love or a combination of smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper
Black Pepper
2 small Meyer Lemons
A Handful of Fresh Sage, Rosemary and Tarragon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water and remove all the bits of fat hanging loose. Pat dry all over with a cloth or paper towel.

Sprinkle a generous amount of peri peri spice, salt and pepper on the chicken, rubbing it in with your fingers on the body and inside the cavity.

Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them. Soften the lemon by rolling it under your hand on the counter. Puncture the lemon using a trussing needle, fork or similar.

Place lemon and fresh herbs in the bird’s cavity. Close up the opening with a toothpick or trussing needles. It should be closed tightly but not airtight, otherwise it may burst.

Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast face down. Do not add cooking fat, as the bird is self-basting. Place in the upper third of the oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over carefully so the breast is face up.

Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven up to 400 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. You should cook the bird for 20 to 25 minutes per pound.

Remove from the oven and serve!

Yields: 4 servings

Time to make: 1 hr 30 minutes