Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cooking for 10 in under two hours

A few times a month I have this desire to cook for people I know. It might sound crazy, considering I work a hectic schedule cooking professionally, but it's something I really enjoy.

Tonight, it was my girlfriend's enormous family of 10. Cooking for 10 can be quite the task: in this family's case, there were different preferences, picky eaters and the one vegetarian. Luckily, on this particular night, it was only part of the family -- the vegetarian was absent -- and some friends. I had around 2 hours to shop and cook, so I was thinking something easy yet delicious.

The menu consisted of Herb Roasted Chicken, Spice Rubbed Roast Beef, Roasted Potatoes, Tomato Salad, and mixed vegetables (preferences taken into account). This meal would be a perfect meal for when you're in a hurry but still want to cook at home. For a smaller family, with the help of the kids, it could be prepared from scratch in under an hour.

Herb Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken trussed
Herbs of choice (thyme and rosemary used tonight)
1 head garlic
1 onion
1 carrot

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Truss the chicken to ensure even cooking.
3. Rub with oil, salt and pepper.
4. Place in roasting pan with wire rack.
5. Stuff chicken cavity with chopped onion, carrot, head of garlic split, thyme, and a few pats of butter
6. On top place more thyme and butter.
7. Place in oven for about 10 minutes at 425 and then lower to 350. Basting chicken periodically to ensure crispy skin, golden brown color, and moist meat.

Cooking times will depend on size of chicken. I prefer to use a thermometer to check. Take out at 155 and let rest. Carve.

Spice Rubbed Roast Beef
Meat cut of choice, good for roasting
Dried Herbs and Spices (Open for exploration)

1. Trim up roast if needed and tie to insure even cooking.
2. Make spice mixture mixed with salt. (I used dried herbs and chili powder)
3. Rub Meat with good amount of spice mixture.
4. Sear till deep golden brown in hot saute pan with oil.
5. Add butter, thyme, and garlic.
6. Baste for a few minutes
7. Place in oven until desired doneness
8. Let rest and carve

Herb Roasted Potatoes
Potatoes of Choice (Yukon Gold and Red work well)
Herbs of choice (Rosemary and thyme)
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 Head Garlic

1. Wash and cut potatoes into even bite sized portions.
2. Place in bowl with herbs, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic cut in half.
3. Place on baking sheet in oven at 425. Roast until golden brown and crispy

Tomato Salad
Cherry or Grape tomatoes cut in half
Sea Salt

1. Place tomatoes and chopped herbs in bowl. Season with Vinegar, Salt, and EVOO.

Vegetables of choice (corn, carrots, and string beans)
Corn (cut off cob)
Carrots (peeled and sliced)
String Beans (cleaned and cooked in salted boiling water)

1. In pot place carrots, water and butter. Cook down until carrots are tender and glazed with butter.
2. Add corn and beans. Heat up until hot and season with salt.

So there you go: a couple quick, simple recipes that can feed a large group in a short period of time. There's nothing fancy or complicated here, just well-seasoned, simple fare.

The one item I left at home was my camera, but I'll start adding photos of my food soon.  Keep in touch, comment, and tell us about your simple favorite meals to make with the family.


Anonymous said...

Myabe you could start making staff meal like this instead of making Yucco style pasta

Kat said...

Thrilled to be fodder for your blog. =)