Sunday, June 3, 2012

Double - Lemon Roast Chicken & Rum Raisin Minicakes with Maple Frosting for #SundaySupper

I come from a history of agrarians. On my dad's side of the family, we can trace our heritage back to the first immigrant farmer in Canada, and even further back, to the native culture in North America. I may not look it, but I am in part Métis. My dad's background is a motley crew of cultures including Spanish, African, European, Mediterranean, Cajun and native North American - the darker skin and hair being very apparent in my sister as well as the rest of the family on my dad's paternal side. I look far more like my maternal background describes - a mix of western European cultures, mostly British, Scottish and Irish, are where my red hair, light blue eyes and skin that burns in 10 minutes when unprotected by SPF 45+ come from.

But regardless of original location, both sides of my family survived for a time as farmers. A favourite story of my maternal grandfather's is how his great grandfather burned down a fellow farmer's barn and silo after being stiffed payment for something (a lesser known tale is that a political activist in that genetic lineup tried and failed to burn down the British parliament). Even today, my mom and I are passionate gardeners, and if it were legal here I'm sure we would have our own backyard chickens.

For these historical famers, Sunday nights meant big, hearty meals around the family table, where children, parents, grandparents and occasionally family friends would converge over great food and better conversation. A centrepiece of roasted meat flanked by a starch (usually potatoes), steamed veggies and a salad was that night's menu, often in such quantity that Monday's meal was taken care of too. That Sunday meal is comparable to today's Easter or Thanksgiving feast, slightly scaled down depending on the number of clan members attending.

When it came time for me to pick an offering for this week's Sunday Supper event (the theme of which being "Celebrating Family Heritage"), I turned to one of my new favourite cookbooks - The Old Farmer's Almanac 2012 Garden-Fresh Cookbook (stay tuned for an upcoming review on Read, Write, Cook). It was hard to choose at first, but then I found the page titled Lemon-Balm Roast Chicken, and I knew it was a match made in Heaven. Not only did it play into my historical (and not so historical, since my aunt and uncle raised chickens for a while) poultry-farming roots, but it also was filled with a compound butter that I could proudly say I made from scratch. Butter created from the last of a long ago holiday's whipping cream was beaten with lots of fresh lemon balm from right outside my back door, then stuffed under the skin of a fresh, organic chicken. I built onto the recipe by adding lemon thyme and chpped fresh lemon to the cavity too, which kept everything so moist it melted onto the fork.

For dessert, I took another piece of my background puzzle - my dad's rum-running grandfather and father - and coupled it with a touch of Canada to come up with tiny mouthfuls of sweetness: Rum Raisin Mini-Cupakes with Maple Frosting!

Check out more #SundaySupper participants here:

  • Scotch Eggs and Brotchen Rolls – The Meltaways
  • Aunt Mary’s Pasta Salad – BG Garden
  • Apple Kuchen – Mrs. Mama Hen
  • Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) – Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades
  • Spaghetti Carbonara – Katherine Martinelli
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikash – Make Dinner Easy
  • Potato and Spinach Knishes – The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
  • German Potato Salad – Magnolia Days
  • Sausage and Broccoli with Orecchiette – Daddy Knows Less
  • Chicken Enchiladas Suizas – The Weekend Gourmet
  • Strawberry Tiramisu – Chocolate Moosey
  • Chocoflan – Juanita’s Cocina
  • Egg Liqueur Cake – The German Foodie
  • Bucatini all’Amatriciana – Mooshu Jenne
  • Rasmalai (Ricotta in Sweet Coconut Milk with Almonds and Pistachio) – Sue’s Nutrition Blog
  • Mediterranean Couscous Salad – In the Kitchen With KP
  • Rouladen – Midlife Road Trip
  • Keftikas (Turkish Meat and Leek Patties) – The Little Ferraro Kitchen
  • Croque Monsieur with a Béchamel sauce – The Daily Dish Recipes
  • Momma’s Meat Pie with Poutine Sauce – Momma’s Meals
  • Polish Rustic Plum Tart – Comfy Cuisine
  • Drop Scones (Scottish Pancakes) – Cositas Bonitas
  • Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding – The Lovely Pantry
  • Borscht Shooters – Cookistry
  • Shepherd’s Pie – Big Bear’s Wife
  • Parsnip Cakes – Mama’s Blissful Bites
  • Roasted Curried Vegetables – Hot Curries & Cold Beer
  • Portuguese Mussels in a Chorizo Sauce – Family Foodie
  • Bulgogi Kimchi Grilled Cheese – Damn Delicious
  • Wine pairings for all the recipes – ENOFYLZ

  • How do you celebrate your cultural heritage at the dinner table?

    Double - Lemon Roast Chicken
    Makes 1 large chicken, four pieces
    1/4 cup salted butter, softened
    1/4 cup packed lemon balm leaves
    pinch black pepper
    pinch Kosher salt
    4 lbs organic fresh roasting chicken
    1/2 tbsp paprika
    1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
    1 organic lemon, quartered
    1 sprig fresh thyme (use lemon thyme if you have it)
    1. In a small bowl, cream the butter, lemon balm, salt and pepper. Set aside. (This can be done ahead of time, I recommend it.)
    2. Remove chicken from the fridge 1 hour before roasting. Preheat oven to 350F.
    3. Loosen the skin (or make shallow incisions) all over and stuff with the compound butter.
    4. Rub the outside of the bird with paprika and Kosher salt and place the lemon quarters and thyme sprig in the cavity.
    5. Place chicken, breast side down, in a lightly greased roasting pan.
    6. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, then turn the bird over and roast a further 30-35 minutes, until done.
    7. Remove from oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
    8. Remove and discard stuffing before carving. 
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 437.4
    Total Fat: 30.5 g
    Cholesterol: 153.5 mg
    Sodium: 616.8 mg
    Total Carbs: 0.1 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
    Protein: 38.4 g

    Rum Raisin Minicakes with Maple Frosting
    Makes 8 "mini" cupcakes
    2/3 cup flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    pinch nutmeg
    pinch allspice
    pinch salt
    1 tbsp raw cane sugar
    3 (1 gram) packets stevia sweetener (I used vanilla Krisda)
    2 tbsp dark raisins
    3 tbsp spiced rum
    2 tbsp water
    1 tbsp melted vegan butter or oil

    2 tbsp vegan butter or solid coconut oil
    1 tbsp dark amber maple syrup
    1/2 tsp natural maple extract (optional)
    1/4 cup powdered sugar (I whirled my sucanat in a coffee grinder)
    pinch salt
    1. Preheat the oven to 400F, grease or line mini muffin cups with paper liners
    2. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, salt, sugar and stevia. Add the raisins and toss to coat.
    3. Stir in the rum, water and melted vegan butter until just combined.
    4. Bake 10 minutes, then unmould immediately onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
    5. For frosting, beat together the vegan butter, maple syrup, maple extract, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.
    6. Frost cooled cupcakes and dot each with a raisin if desired.
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 122.2
    Total Fat: 4.2 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 45.8 mg
    Total Carbs: 17.2 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
    Protein: 1.2 g


    1. I don't know what I want to try first... the Lemon Roast Chicken or the Rum Raisin Minicakes! I am thrilled to have you participate in #SundaySupper! I love your recipes and your blog!

    2. Oh my goodness, a "two-fer" and they both look scrumptious! Thank you for sharing your heritage and recipes for #SundaySupper!

    3. Guess you wanted to start your first #SundaySupper with a bang! I've never had lemon balm before (and don't know where to even get it?!) And of course rum :D Love the barn burning story.


    Thanks for the feedback!