Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A summer roast, indoors

If you’re like me, summer cooking means getting outside and using the grill, or, if things need to made indoors, preparing a cold wrap or salad.
   But I have to break with that as I tell you about a couple of dishes, both suited to summertime weather, that require turning on the broiler in the oven – but they’re so good, you won’t mind roasting away inside (roasting the food, I mean).

The first is Broiled Chicken Thighs with Pineapple-Cucumber Salad (click for the recipe) from Everyday Food magazine.
   My husband and I were very impressed with how delicious the chicken was for the very little work involved in preparing and cooking it – crispy skin and juicy meat abounded.
   The side salad, with the pineapple and cucumber, is optional, but it was quite summery and refreshing.
   One warning: Chicken broiled this close to the heat source at the top of the oven will mean some fat and oil will splatter upwards, potentially creating some smoke and an oven that needs cleaning at the top. I sprayed some Easy-Off on the top of the oven, left it overnight, and gave it a quick wash the next day. Problem solved.
   Lime zest (finely-grated lime peel), chili powder and coarse salt are combined and rubbed on bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which are placed on a rimmed baking sheet. The broiler is heated, and the chicken broiled under it for about 14 minutes total, flipping once.
   Lime juice, pineapple and cucumber (we skipped the cilantro – yuck) are combined together to make a side salad.

The second is Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Mustard (click for the recipe). Making this dish in June is a must, as it the best time to get fresh apricots at the supermarket.
   The recipe yields tender pork surrounded by warm, roasted apricots. With a side salad and bread, this makes a very nice weeknight supper.
   My husband found it took less time and less heat than what the recipe said to cook the pork and broil the apricots. The recipe said to cook them for 15 minutes total under the broiler; he cooked them for about 12 minutes total, flipping at the six-minute mark, with heat at about 500 F. Keeping an eye on the pork and apricots is certainly key to prevent burning.
   The recipe is very easy to prepare.
   Grainy mustard and apricot jam are mixed together in a large bowl, and minced garlic is added to 1/3 cup of the mustard and apricot mixture.
   Two pork tenderloins are patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper before being coated with two tablespoons of the mustard-garlic mixture. The tenderloins are arranged on a broiler pan that’s been lined with foil.
   Pitted and quartered fresh apricots are tossed with the remainder of the mustard-garlic mixture, and are arranged around the pork.
   The pork and apricots are broiled five to six inches from heat (see note on time and temperature my husband used above).
   The pork is transferred to a cutting board, left to stand for five minutes, then cut crosswise into ½ inch thick slices and transferred to a platter.
   The apricots are spooned over the pork and served with the remaining mustard-jam mixture on the side.

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