Over lunch Greg and I chat by instant message. During those times, we talk about important things. Things like how to spell bodily function and other noises (think along the lines of pffft) and goals to achieve for the evening, week or the coming years. Should we take a walk on the trails? Do we hire someone to build my dream website? In order to do the last one, should we stop paying our credit card and student loan bills? Do I take the red or blue pill? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?
We usually mistype words and turn them into personal jokes that we tease one another about for a period of time. (Last week Greg told me his day was busty instead of busy so I like to work with that one.) Our chats are usually pretty upbeat and fun. I think every married couple should get to chat online while they are at work and I do mean with each other, none of this Tiger Wood’s crap.
A good amount of our conversation is about food-what to have for dinner, what we should make while camping, whether or not to buy new cookware and knives, etc. It was unanimous that we should, and by “we,” we mean me, make this recipe: roasted chicken with sunchokes and olives.
Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, are similar to a potato with a hint of nuttiness. I was surprised to learn that sunchokes come from a plant that looks like a sunflower, where they supposedly received their name (also called sunroot). These tubers resemble ginger, knotty knotty ginger. Their season is almost over but my local co-op still had them so I’m going to guess that you can find these in your local store still. (They do well in the cold and can be found from October to April.)
This dish was my first encounter with the sunchoke but I enjoy trying new things so I didn’t think twice to make this recipe. Have I told you how much I enjoy the website Sippity Sup? Awe-to-the-some, check it out. This recipe can be found at that link or my version is below.
Originally, this one came from Martha Stewart. I agreed with Greg Henry (from Sippity Sup) about lowering the cooking temp to 450, Martha wanted it on 500. I didn’t peel the sunchokes as recommended by Greg (not by Martha) but next time, I would peel the root veggie since the skin was a bit tough. Instead of chicken breasts, I used thighs and I wouldn’t use nearly as much lemon juice nor the lemon strips, although lemon does taste great with the garlic and wine. I also reduced the amount of olives in the dish-I love them but they were taking over and I added more butter for the sauce.
I suggest you find some sunchokes and make this soon but you could always add potatoes instead. The flavors meld so well together. Easy, breezy, beautiful dinner!
Roasted Chicken with Sunchokes and Olives
4 large chicken breasts or thighs, bone-in, with skin
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zested finely and juiced
16 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 lb small uniformly sized sunchokes, peeled and cut in half
8 shallots, halved
2 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp butter, cut into 1/4” dice
½ to ¾ cup green olives, pitted
Preheat the oven to 450. Rub the chicken breasts or thighs on all sides with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and season them well with salt and pepper. Place the chicken into a shallow sided roasting pan. Arrange the chicken in a single layer leaving as much room between each piece as possible and set aside.
Zest the lemon with a fine grater such as a micro-plane. Juice the lemon into a small bowl and set it aside. Combine the garlic cloves, sunchokes, halved shallots and the thyme leaves. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and season well with more salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the chicken, tossing as you go until all the chicken is well coated. Roast until golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and add the lemon juice, wine and olives. Quickly scrape up the crusty brown bits and deglaze as well as you can with the chicken still in the pan. Scatter the diced butter cubes all around the pan and return to the oven, cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove the chicken from the oven and garnish with the remaining grated lemon zest, serve hot.