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Harvest Supper

There’s nothing quite like a vegetable straight from the garden, so when I was recently invited to check out some carrots and potatoes straight from the ground, I jumped at the opportunity.

Our friend Christine is an avid gardener and has, over the years, helped us with our feeble gardening efforts.  Her garden produces a selection of great produce from spring to fall, including asparagus and herbs, leading to cucumbers and tomatoes and into carrots, potatoes and other fall treats.

On this sunny harvest day it would be my job to do some cooking.  Since the ingredients were going to be of such high quality, I decided going simple was best.  I brined some chicken early in the day – a few bone-in chicken breasts – that would be pan-roasted and baked with garden-fresh herbs.  That would be paired up with some awesome potatoes that were literally just boiled, mashed and seasoned with salt, plus some carrots that were boiled, drained and tossed in a sweet herb sauce.

For some foodies, this is the most wonderful time of year.  Get your hands on some fresh local produce and dive in.  I’ll do the cooking.

Glazed carrots

1 lb or so carrots, scrubbed and trimmed

salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried dill or a teaspoon fresh chopped dill

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to the boil and season well with salt.  Add the carrots and boil until just tender, about 10 minutes. Taste them once in a while, they’re delicious. Drain well in a collander.  Heat a fry pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes and drop in the butter and brown sugar.  Stir together to melt, then add the dill, salt and pepper.  Toss the carrots in the sauce and simmer then for a few minutes, lowering the heat to low.  Add a few tablespoons of water or wine if the sauce begins to harden or dry up.

Herbed chicken breasts

4 bone-in, skin on, chicken breasts

salt for brine

2 tablespoons olive oil

ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1/3 cup good white wine

If you have the time, brine your chicken ahead.  Dissolve a half cup of salt in a couple of litres of water and add the chicken to it.  Let it brine, covered, for at least a couple of hours or up to four.  Drain well and pat the breasts dry. Preheat your oven to 375F. Season the chicken with pepper.  Heat a fry pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes and add the olive oil.  Lay the chicken breasts in the pan, skin side down.  Cook until nicely browned, about four to five minutes, then turn over and brown the other side, about another four minutes.  Sprinkle on the fresh rosemary and sage and pour in the white wine.  Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.  Scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the fry pan (add more wine if you have to) and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve topped with the pan sauce.

Alexandra had a blast picking fresh potatoes and carrots right from the garden.