Soul Food

I probably should have ordered a pizza, thrown on pajamas and crawled into bed (and not necessarily in that order), but I needed some sort of happy ending to my crummy day and knew this easy fall dinner would do the trick.

  • Set oven at 425.
  • Divide and gut two acorn squash.  But please watch your fingers.  Seriously.  My children are still traumatized from witnessing my butternut squash cutting debacle several years ago.
  • Rub flesh of each half with canola or olive oil.
  • Add a tablespoon of maple syrup, butter and brown sugar to each half.
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Place on a baking sheet.
  • Take one (five-ish pound) roasting chicken.
  • Salt and pepper inside and out.
  • Stuff with a head of garlic and a lemon, both divided in two.
  • Add fresh herbs to the cavity if you have them.
  • And next – the BEST trick (learned from a Martha Stewart magazine ages ago) – skip the roasting rack and slice a white or yellow onion into thick rings and place in the bottom of the pan.
  • Rest the chicken on the onions.  (It not only keeps the chicken incredibly juicy, but it adds tremendous flavor.)
  • Roast the chicken for an hour and a half.  Skin should be crispy, legs should wiggle easily, and juices from thigh should run clear.
  • Roast the squash for an hour, or until a fork enters the flesh easily and the sugar, butter and syrup are bubbly.
  • Greens simply dressed on the side.  Or not.
  • Done.
  • Minimal effort, maximum comfort.  Don’t you feel better already?

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