For my first Christmas morning away from home, I found it necessary to make all the familiar snacks that I had growing up. To me, there’s nothing like food to bring back memories and feelings of warmth. At our house, the tradition is to make Monkey Bread up the night before, allowing it to rise slowly in the microwave overnight, and bake in the morning as the family gathers.
Mimosas are poured, and eventually Grammy arrives with the traditional Shrimp and Grits casserole. Side note-the mimosas are my favorite. I’m a foodie, but I can’t resist Champagne and OJ.
When everyone has finally gathered, and the Monkey Bread has come out of the oven (oh so gooey and sinful), we sit with full champagne flutes and wrapping paper begins to fly. There is nothing to me like those hours with family, good food and happy exchanges.
So what to do now that I have gone from a 10 person Christmas morning feast, to just Tim, Cooper and I? Naturally, make enough food for 10 still, eat twice as much as normal, and of course, the mimosas…
But what really set Christmas off for me this year, was our Christmas dinner. As it was my first Christmas away AND as a non-vegetarian, I wanted to do something extra-special. After an afternoon of debating the centerpiece course, Tim and I decided on roast chicken. I personally love a bit of sweet and savory, so a pomegranate sauce sounded great. And it’s the holidays, which to me means spices and herbs. So we have…
Sage and Garlic Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Pepper Sauce
- 4-5 lb fryer chicken (thawed)
- 4 TBS butter, softened
- 2 TBS sage, chopped (reserve extra sage to stuff in chicken)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 feet twine for trussing chicken
- Medium-small butternut squash
- One or two small apples
- 2 TBS EVOO
- 2 cups 100% pomegranate juice
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 head broccoli (optional, but goes along as a side very well)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Mix butter, sage, garlic and salt. Rub all over chicken, under skin and in cavity.
- Stuff remaining sage/garlic in cavity.
- Truss chicken: Place center of twine behind chicken with cavity facing you. Bring ends over drumsticks toward you, pull under drumsticks and out to the sides, then bring back over and tie in middle. This is also easy to find online if you need more instruction.
- Prepare butternut squash and apples by cutting into 2 inch cubes (removing all seeds). Toss in light EVOO and a bit of garlic/salt if you like.
- Place chicken in center of roasting pan, surround with prepared veggies and fruits.
- Roast for 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat pomegranate juice and pepper over medium heat until reduced (about 20 minutes). Stir often to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick to pan.
- After roasting for 1 hour and 10 minutes, pour 1/2 sauce over chicken, reserving rest for plating/serving.
- Continue to bake 10 minutes. This is also an excellent time to steam the broccoli, if you choose to have it.
- Remove chicken from oven and let cool 10 minutes before carving.
Who doesn’t love a good before and after set?