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March 22nd,
written by Arthur

Yesterday evening, with my TPS reports completed (correct covers and all), I left the office at a reasonable hour with embryonic cooking ideas in my head.  As I got to the store, I still had no solid idea of the menu.  But I had time to wander the aisles and ponder fish vs poultry, grilling vs the oven, salad vs pasta… In the end I decide to make-up a new chicken recipe.

Union Market has a hot pepper jelly that has been taunting me for months.  As my mind settled on roasting a chicken, I knew I had to make use of this jelly.  But what else…  then the universal truth came to me: bacon makes everything better (and perhaps thinking back to Meg’s butterfly chicken).  And Union Market just happens to have some pretty fine looking bacon.  Some carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes fell into my basket for side dishes.  Finally, I grabbed a thing of cilantro to top everything off.

Now this dish takes a bit of time, but almost all of that is passively letting everything cook.  You need about 20 minutes of prep.  I put the chicken in a dutch over, peeled and chopped the veggies and put them in along with the potatoes.  Next I took my pound of bacon, gave it a fine chop, and mixed it in a bowl with maybe a half cup of the hot pepper jam.  About a third of the bacon pepper jam went into the bird’s cavity, about third under the skin, and about a third on the top-side skin.  For good measure, any extra little bacon pieces on the cutting board were put on the potatoes.

With the lid on, and the oven at 375, I just let everything cook for maybe a bit more than 90 minutes–after about 30 the smells of onions, chicken, and bacon were wafting through the apartment.  I took the lid of for the last 15 or so minutes, as I made some quinoa, just to help the onions brown a bit; because of the sugars in the jelly, the chicken was already there.

And how did this improvised concoction turn out?  Well, between Nick, Fayaz, and I, we took down almost the whole bird and all the veggies.  There was a little sweet and heat from pepper jelly and bacon added all the savory you could hope for.  I realized, after it was in the oven, that I had forgotten to add garlic.  But, I think this error might have been for the best.  [You can pick your jaw up off the floor.]  There was plenty of flavor that worked well together.  I feel that the garlic might have just gotten in the way.  If I were going to add something else, it would be more heat, probably by adding diced hot pepper to the bacon jelly mix.

More than just the food, it was nice to sit down  at a table mid-week with my roommates and chat–much better than the usual take-out in front of the TV with the work laptop going.

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