Rotisseur

Finally! After one failed attempt and a summer away from Center City lunches, I finally made it to Rotisseur, the new(ish) rotisserie chicken joint in Rittenhouse. It was actually kind of destiny. My husband happened to call me, just as my meeting ended, to see if I wanted to meet for lunch. YES, YES, YES! Let’s meet at Rotisseur in ten. 

We wandered in and scoped the chalkboard menu.

The inside is very simple, with clean lines and a focus on the food. I admired the sides but drooled over the rotisserie.

Zach and I ended up splitting the 1/2 chicken meal with two sides and added a third side, just for fun. We knew we wanted mac and cheese (if you’ve spent enough time reading this blog, you know I’ll always order mac and cheese when it’s offered) and the watermelon orzo salad but had trouble deciding on a third. The sides rotate seasonally and we opted for the hyper-seasonal succotash to round out our lunch.

We ordered at the counter but the counter-woman delivered our food and real silverware to our table (my dad would love this place!) This was a little awkward as I didn’t know what to do about tipping when we left.

The chicken was super moist and packed with lots of flavor. However, I’m more of a side gal and I quickly attacked all three of them with equal gusto. The succotash was definitely the sleeper–the fresh corn highlighted the otherwise simple dish and made me keep coming back for more. The mac and cheese was delish, as always, but the watermelon orzo salad was another winner. Let’s get a closer look at that.

Yum!

Rotisseur is quick, tasty and affordable lunch option in Center City. I can’t wait to get back to try their pesto chicken salad sandwich and chicken banh mi. At $6, these sandwiches are a steal.

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Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

A few weeks ago, Slow Food USA put out a “$5 Challenge,” encouraging people to come up with home cooked meals for under $5/person. Joy Manning over at The Oyster Evangelist took up the challenge and shared her results with the Inquirer. When I saw that she had made chicken ricotta meatballs, I knew I had to check them out. We are constantly trying to eat healthier and I was interested in exploring this meatball alternative (not to mention the last chicken meatball I had from Marabella Meatball Co. was the bomb.)

Chicken Ricotta Meatballs (adapted from Joy Manning)

2 lbs. ground chicken (Manning suggests purchasing chicken thighs and running them through your food processor)

2 cups ricotta cheese (get fresh ricotta if you’re able. I got mine from Salumeria in the Reading Terminal)

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1/3 cup minced onion (or to taste)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

-Combine the ground chicken, ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix gently until well combined.

-Form into meatballs the size of ping pong balls. They will seem very wet and gooey but have no fear.  Arrange on a silcone mat or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, turning after about 15 minutes, until golden brown in spots.

Before baking

After baking

See those crispy black bits on the silpat? Scrape them off and snack before dinner. I promise they’re divine.

-Transfer to a pot of tomato sauce and simmer until serving. I was planning on have a low-carb meal and serving them over zucchini noodles but ALAS, we had no zukes. This carboholic was just fine with spaghetti.

 

I was amazed by how light and fluffy the meatballs were and the ricotta seriously salvaged the dryness that is often prevalent in ground poultry. I made an abundant amount of meatballs but we somehow tore through them in just a few days. They were that good and absolutely packed with flavor. Next time I’m at the Reading Terminal, I’m hitting up Godshall’s to buy some ground chicken in bulk as this would be a great freezer meal.

Chicken Pot Pie

I’ve been wanting to make chicken pot pie for a while now. Nothing says winter like a steaming hot slice of creamy chicken & veg mix beneath a buttery crust. A while back I picked up a bag of frozen mixed veggies in hopes that my pot pie dream would become a reality. I started searching for recipes until I found this one from the Pillsbury website. I figured you couldn’t really go wrong with Pillsbury.
The problem began when I realized at 7pm that the pie crust and veggies needed to be thawed. I removed them both from the freezer and sat down to watch Jeopardy. About 30 minutes later I started dinner once again.
Chicken Pot Pie (recipe adapted from Pillsbury)
1/3 cup butter (this is a lot of  butter. I used a bit less)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • Heat oven to 425°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan. (I used my pretty red dish that I got for a steal at Ross because I thought it would be better to have something a little deeper.)
  • In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened.

 

  • Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Doesn’t that look yum!?

  • Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.  My nice, deep pie dish was a touch too big for the crust but you get the idea.

  • Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. (A tip on that–I usually place the dish on top of two pieces of foil that I can simply fold up over the crust when necessary.) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

I served it with a nice green salad. A perfect dinner for a cold and dreary day. The leftovers kept great for lunches as well.

Buffalo Wings

Last weekend, my husband was removing a takeout menu from our front stoop when he mused “why don’t we have wings for the game on Sunday.” When I asked him if he wanted to buy or make them, he initially said buy, but then we both decided that this is something we could easily make-with the right recipe, of course. I did a little searching on the internet and came across an Alton Brown recipe that looked pretty straightforward and had great reviews. I’m a little weird about using online recipes. I have my “go to” sites that I trust, which include Epicurious and The Food Network. On the other hand, I’m totally weirded out by things like Allrecipes and Cooks.com. Don’t ask because I wouldn’t be able to give you a reasonable informed rationale behind my thoughts. Back to the wings. Even though I think Alton Brown is a total weirdo, I’ve made a few of his recipes before and they seem to be on point–something about the science behind his recipes seems to work. So I figured I’d check out his wing recipe and see what it was all about.

Alton Brown’s Buffalo Chicken Wings

  • 12 whole chicken wings
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • I added about 1/4 cup honey to balance out the spiciness

**I had slightly more than 12 chicken wings so I upped the amounts a bit. Didn’t use any specific ratios, just eyeballed it. And, as I stated in the ingredients, I added some honey so the wings would be a bit sweeter and to cut the spiciness

Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. The funny thing about using the steamer basket is the fact that we were cleaning out the basement the previous day and my husband picked up the steamer basket and asked what the heck it was. I don’t think I’ve used it in the four years we’ve lived in our current house and I used it the day after he noticed it.

Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock (i.e. put in your freezer with the best intentions, forget about it and then throw it away during a freezer-cleaning frenzy.) Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint. This takes a little practice to get just right. When you cut it in the right place, it will cut through very easily. If it’s not cutting easily, you probably need to adjust your cut. Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This step is incredibly important because it fully dries out the chicken. Dryness is important because it helps the skin get nice and crispy in the oven.

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Replace the paper towels with parchment paper or a silpat if you realized that you ran out of parchment paper earlier.  Parchment is best though, because cleaning a silpat after cooking these wings on it is a real pain.  Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.

While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce, honey and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.

Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm with celery and house made blue cheese dressing from Linvilla Orchards. But only if you’re fancy like us! Oh, and enjoy while watching the Eagles win, of course.

These wings were excellent! The roasting provided a perfect crispness without the added fat of your traditional deep-fried wings. It also allowed for us to enjoy the juicy meat with just a perfect amount of crunch. Although there were a few steps, the overall dish was super easy and the basic preparation could be used with a variety of different sauces.