Somebody hold me… Because in nine days, it’s time to say goodbye to The Office. Forever. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.
(And the lines between TV talk and food talk blur once again… Bear with me? If you want?)
Critics say the U.S. version of the show overstayed its welcome, to which I respond: duh, and it’s all because of unsophisticated ding dongs like me, who kept watching no matter what. Sorry, serious legitimate critics and Comic Book Guys (and Ladies) of the world.
What can I say? I’m loyal. And I, for one, am glad the show stuck around as long as it did, despite the peaks and valleys. Here’s why:
1. Its success practically spawned Parks and Recreation, which we can all agree is literally amazing, sharp television, no?
2. It exposed the world to the girly genius of Mindy Kaling.
3. The Office at its worst was still a thousand times better than Two and a Half Broke Whitneys or whatever.
4. If it took that long to take Pam and Jim from nauseatingly perfect to real-life perfect, I’m okay with that.
5. Finally, if we had to tolerate a weak season (or a few) to get an epic a capella showdown involving Stephen Colbert (can’t find a clip to link, so sad), I’m game.
In short, I think this is a good time to give our insides a big old hug with springtime comfort food. That’s not as weird as it sounds… I don’t think.
Honestly, I just wanted to roast radishes and I’ve had a beautiful roasted chicken leg pinned since, oh, forever ago. Sweet carrots and parsnips seemed fitting. Caraway is something I grew up with–you may not have, as these things are different for everyone. Feel free to skip it, or substitute it with whatever feels like home. Thyme? Rosemary? Herbes de Provence? (In the latter case, you = fancy.)
If you’ve never roasted radishes before, I’d suggest you try it. I love their sharp, spicy, bright crunch when raw, but roasting coaxes out something delightfully different. If there were such a thing as a default “roasted root vegetable” flavor, this would be it–mellow, kind of earthy, caramelized in all the right places, wholly satisfying.
The chicken itself is inspired by Thomas Keller via Food Swoon. It’s too simple to be a recipe; it’s more of a method. First, make sure the skin of the chicken is very dry. Pat it with a paper towel at least one extra time. Then, salt and salt generously. Both of these things draw out moisture to ensure a golden, crispy skin, which obviously is the very best part of roast chicken. Leg quarters will be juicier than breasts, which I’m sure you already knew. Hiding a few garlic cloves beneath the skin is not necessary, but makes for a beautiful bonus.
Otherwise, nothing about this dinner is particularly revolutionary. We are going for simple, familiar, warm.
…Does that remind you of someone? I’ll miss you, Kevin Malone!
He was so wise sometimes.
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables with Caraway
(inspired by/adapted from Thomas Keller via Food Swoon)
2 chicken leg quarters
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled, optional
2 bunches radishes, cleaned and trimmed, larger ones halved
2 carrots, cleaned, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 parsnips, cleaned, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Dry chicken well with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. If using garlic cloves, tuck them under the skin.
Toss vegetables and caraway seeds with about a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or glass baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and arrange chicken among the vegetables.
Roast for 45-55 minutes, stirring vegetables halfway during roasting, until chicken is golden and crispy and vegetables are tender. Serves 2 hungry people. (i.e., me now and me later, heyo!)