This week for One Local Summer I had a near miss that turned into a delicious hit! I love making great tasting food that's from local producers and also healthy and paleo - gluten and dairy free.
The star of dinner tonight was a roasted chicken from Polyface Farms. I rinsed and dried the chicken and then generously salted and peppered it inside and out. The outside I wrapped in bacon from EcoFriendly Foods and the inside I stuffed with two of the season's first peaches from Westmoreland Berry Farm. Into the oven at 425 for 30 minutes, then I reduced the heat to 350 and roasted it for an additional hour.
The plan was to end up with delicious bacon-wrapped chicken and some roasty peach chunks. My oven had other plans!
Now, I've made bacon wrapped chicken before and it's always turned out, but this time for some reason the bacon shriveled to itty bitty bacon cinders and became inedible. So not only did I have burned bacon, but I had flabby chicken skin. Erg. I removed the peaches from the chicken and noticed they were not roasty at all either. My plans had been foiled, but I thought there had to be some way to salvage this food. After a moment's pondering I set the bacon cinders aside and carved the chicken into two leg quarters, two breasts, and two wings. I put the chicken pieces on a foil lined baking sheet and put them back in the oven to turn the flabby skin crispy. What to do with the peaches...aha! Gravy!
To make the gravy, I took the peaches from the chicken cavity and heated them in a small saucepan with a good spoonful of drippings from the roasting pan and 1/4 cup sweet white wine from Rose Bank Winery along with a pinch of salt and about 1 inch of cinnamon stick. I put the heat to low, covered it, and let it simmer while I went to work on the veggie sides. I don't know if Rose Bank Winery can be considered local to northern Virginia, but we used to live about 3 minutes away from this winery and we bought a whole case of the wine that we're still working on! So it was local to us at one point. :)
To get our leafy greens in for the day I made some braised kale from Pleasant Fields Farm. First I sauteed some baby onions from our CSA in the chicken/bacon drippings, then added the kale and a little water, covered, and let it braise for about 15 minutes.
To add some freshness to the meal, I made a quick cucumber salad using crispy little Persian cucumbers from Toigo Orchards. They are so snappy and delicious! I tossed them with some chopped orange mint from Red Rake Farm, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a splash of rice vinegar. Red Rake Farm is one of my favorite stands at the Arlington Farmer's Market. It's all organic and their produce looks more "real" to me than some of the other places for some reason. And the owner, Peter, is always ready with a smile and story. Much nicer than shopping at a grocery store!
Once the veggies were ready, the chicken skin was crispy and the peaches were nice and broken down for the gravy, and dinner was served! I think everything tied together very nicely - the crispy chicken skin with the sweet warm peach gravy, the tender kale, and the cool fresh cucumbers. My husband even ate the bacon cinders and said they kind of tasted like pork rinds. Success!