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A Southwest Summer: Roast Chicken with Cherry Salsa

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I just love the taste of properly roasted chicken. I love the seasoned and crisp skin. I love the moist meat. I love the ease of preparation. There is not really too much you can do to increase the taste and texture of properly roasted chicken other than maybe adding a true fresh flavor to it and in the case of this dish, that fresh flavor is a fresh cherry salsa!

In creating this dish, I wanted to make it very tongue-friendly. Though all the kitchen-testing was done by roasting the chicken, it can very well be adapted to the grill or the barbecue with ease since we are using chicken parts, specifically the thighs. I have chosen the thighs for this recipe for the simple fact they are the most flavorful part of the chicken and due to their flavor, the cherry salsa is a perfect match.

To make the cherry salsa at the restaurant we pit the cherries by hand (running a very sharp paring knife down the middle and splitting the cherry, then removing the pit). We then halve the halves (essentially quartering the cherry). We do it this way for both presentation purpose and ease of eating. At home you can use the dreaded cherry pitter but the chances are your cherries will end up mangled and will lose their shape. You can also use organic sour cherries, which you can find in cans when cherry season is not in progress.

Ingredients needed to make Roasted Chicken with Cherry Salsa (serves 4 as an entree):

The Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 limes, the juice only
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (chicken skin is not fat)

Steps:

  1. Into a large shallow dish, whisk all the ingredients, except the chicken thighs, until well blended.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into the marinade, toss to coat, and let marinate 1 hour at room temperature.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place into a large saute pan or skillet.
  5. Place in the oven and roast 50 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken to serving plates and top with some of the cherry salsa.

The Cherry Salsa:

  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound cherries, pitted and quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Into a large, non-aluminum bowl, combine all the ingredients and gently toss. Let the salsa rest at room temperature until ready to use (if making more than an hour before use, chill the salsa until ready to use).

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