Memorial Day isn't just a holiday for picnics; it's a holiday for remembering. I love to remember my lost relatives (although none of them served in the military) by making their recipes and tasting the past with them. For my mother's mother, I always enjoy making her Ham and String Bean Soup (a real Pennsylvania Dutch treat!). It's the only thing I remember her making and serving for us as a family. For my father's mother, I remember the taste of a white bean soup made with goose broth (and served in a white, shallow china bowl) -- I have yet to make it, but I know I will (although, mainly I remember her serving takeout Chinese food!).
But my mother, who recently passed away, will always be remembered in our family for one major food: Garlic Chicken. When we got together for a Memorial Day picnic, it would almost certainly involve her garlic chicken. It was a real crowd-pleaser, and once she got too old to cook, it was the one food that would make her happy (even though, of course, no one made it as good as she did).
I made it last night for dinner the way she used to make it, and my family devoured it. In fact, I'm going to eat some for breakfast, too.
But here is the thing: You can make it with any kind of chicken (as long as it's organic!), skin on or skin off, boneless or bone-in. If you use skinless and boneless, it's kind of like a homemade chicken nugget (with garlic). However, for the true Ardie taste, you have to make it with cut-up pieces with bones AND skin. And you have to cook it until the skin is totally crispy. Yum.
Ardie's Garlic Chicken:
1 chicken, cut into pieces, with skin (or boneless pieces) -- I also ask the butcher to cut the breast in quarters so they are not so big
1 cup organic whole wheat bread crumbs (Ardie always used Progresso Italian -- not necessary)
6 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
Turn the oven up to 375° and take out a roasting pan. Put 3 tablespoons of oil on the bottom.
Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and roll the chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs. Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, into the roasting pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt.
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Melt the butter with the remaining olive oil and garlic (crushed, not cut) in a pan. Brush a tablespoon or more of the butter mix onto each piece of chicken.
Continue roasting until chicken is golden brown and crispy!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.