Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Dinner: Maple Mustard Chicken and Bleu Cheese Hasselback Potatoes

We were supposed to have company today, but I woke up feeling unwell, and we reluctantly called our friends to reschedule our get-together. But I recovered somewhat during the day, and decided to go ahead with our menu, just for us.

First the chicken. This past week we picked up ten lovely shrink-wrapped chickens from the Amish family where we get most of our poultry, and one of these became our dinner. I marinated the parts in the following:

1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp herbs of choice, or to taste (I used thyme; the original recipe suggested rosemary)
(reserve a bit of marinade for later)

We had intended to grill the chicken, but threatening skies moved the process indoors; I baked it at 375 degrees for an hour, turning and brushing the pieces with the reserved marinade. 

Along with the chicken I made bleu cheese hasselback potatoes, which are kind of a cross between scalloped and baked potatoes. Unskinned baking potatoes are sliced partway through, creating a kind of fan; the potatoes are then placed in cold water, fanning out the slices a bit, and soaked for a few minutes, then dried off, wrapped in some waxed paper and microwaved: 5 minutes; reposition, 5 more minutes. After cooling for a bit, you transfer the potatoes to aluminum foil rectangles that will become their jackets; brush the potatoes with melted butter, opening the slices to get all that buttery goodness inside. Add some thin slices of garlic to some of the slices. Usually recipes for hasselback potatoes call for Parmesan cheese, but we wanted to try bleu cheese, so I stuffed the slices with crumbles of that. Finally, some pepper and salt into the crevices. Wrap up the potatoes and either grill or bake them for about 20 minutes. These turned out very tasty; I think bacon would be another great addition. We also roasted some asparagus to complete the feast.

We were sad that we didn't have our friends around to enjoy dinner, but I was glad we had a successful trial run of this menu...which will return to our plates, with or without guests, in the future.

Note: Speaking of slackage, as I was in the prior post -- I'm a very inconsistent photographer, which means that I'll never be the Pioneer Woman of Lutheranism. I could have taken a photo of our excellent meal...but I didn't. You'll have to imagine the shiny golden glaze on the chicken, the tantalizing promise of a baked potato fan holding treasures of cheese and garlic between each slice, the emerald green of fresh Michigan asparagus in season. Maybe next time.



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