This Aromatic Herb Adds Flavor And Nutrition To Your Holiday Table

There’s something about rosemary … its tender evergreen needles, its scents of pine and camphor, its use in seasonal recipes, and—perhaps surprisingly—its health benefits. This herb takes center stage during the holidays, adding zest to poultry, fish, lamb, pork, side dishes, dips and spreads, or simply as an aromatic garnish. But did you know rosemary also adds nutrition?

Memorable Health and Nutritional Benefits

Part of the mint family, rosemary has long been associated with remembrance and memorials, going back at least as far as Shakespeare’s Ophelia making that connection in Hamlet. Interestingly, scientific studies are backing up that centuries-old tradition, with results indicating that rosemary actually boosts recollection and that further research is warranted.

Rosemary is packed with phytonutrients, including antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and terpenes. These nutrients fight inflammation, help regulate blood sugar, and may help with digestion, and create what the National Institutes of Health calls “anticancer effects.” What’s more, rosemary is a source of vitamins A, B6, C, and folate, as well as iron and calcium.

Rosemary also is useful in essential-oil form, with non-culinary uses including hair and skin care (it detangles and restores moisture to hair, and it’s a natural astringent and acne fighter). And it may, although this is disputed, stimulate hair growth.

A Seasoning for the Season … and Beyond

Somewhat citrusy and sage-like, rosemary tastes slightly minty and balsamic, and has a woody aftertaste. Because of its strong flavor, it can hold its own in just about any dish (just keep in mind that sometimes rosemary requires a lighter touch).Whether your special meals include roast pork, cornish game hen, turkey, venison, fish, or tofu, there are countless recipes that employ rosemary. A favorite at The Pickled Beet is Chicken with Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Sauce.

In fact, there are almost endless uses for rosemary in your cooking, especially during the holiday season. You can even deck the halls with rosemary (instead of boughs of holly). What other seasonal spice lets you do that?

Chicken with Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Sauce

1 1/2 pounds new potato small like Red Bliss
2 large lemons olive oil Kosher salt Black pepper
4 chicken breast, bone-out, skin on (you can ask your butcher to debone)
1 tablespoon(s) garlic minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted organic butter, optional

Put the potatoes in a pot of salted cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool, but do not peel. Cut in half and set aside.

Preheat the broiler. Cut a small slice off both ends of each lemon, then cut in half crosswise. Arrange the lemons, flesh side up, in a flameproof non-reactive baking dish, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil 6 inches or more from the heat until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Squeeze the lemon halves over a sieve suspended over a bowl. Push and stir the pulp through the sieve with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Discard the lemon shells.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a large ovenproof sauté pan with olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the chicken, lower the heat to medium, and cook, turning once, until brown on both sides, about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. Remove to a platter.

Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and tossing, until brown all over, about 5 minutes. Drain off the excess oil. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the potatoes and place in the oven to reheat and cook through, about 10 minutes. When done, remove the chicken to a platter and put the pan with the potatoes over medium-high heat. Toss well so the pan juices are absorbed into the potatoes. Scrape the potatoes out of the pan onto the platter around the chicken.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the garlic. Sauté briefly until light brown. Immediately add the reserved roasted lemon juice (this final flash of heat will cook off any residual acid flavor), stock, rosemary, and parsley. Stir and scrape up all the browned bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce tastes too lemony, stir in the optional butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes.

The Pickled Beet can incorporate just about any favorite food or seasoning into many delicious and healthy recipes for our Miami clients. We work with individuals, couples, and families to find meals that are flavorful, healthy, and best fuel the body no matter what nutritional requirements might be part of the equation. Contact us for a free consultation.

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