Lately I’ve been searching for good books to read. And I mean leisurely reading, not the type of reading that I do 95% of my day, which is giant thick medicine textbooks and journal articles.
Ever since graduating high school, I’ve gotten into nonfictions. Maybe it’s the over-abundance of Shakespeare, Orwell and Charles Dickens in the high school required reading list that forever drove me away from fictions. Maybe it was a part of growing up. But I started reading books such as “Freakonomics”, “The 4-Hour Work Week” (which inspired me ever since to find ways to work less), and “Eat, Pray Love”. There is something about delving into others’ experiences, and vicariously living their more awesome life, that drew me back to nonfictions.
In recent years though, I’ve had much less time to do leisure reading. It is really a shame, since reading a book often gives me so much more creative and intellectual spark than browsing social media or passively watching a Korean drama. So in an effort to reclaim my introspective and intellectual side, I went on a search for the next book on my reading list.
And I stumbled into Michael Pollan’s “Cooked”. It was actually a fellow foodie friend’s recommendation. Since I had never read a book written exclusively about food, and this book combined the history, culture and the science behind the most basic elements that contribute to cooking: fire, water, air and earth, it seemed promising. And I was right. Fifty pages in, and I’m hooked already. The first section on the element of fire focuses in on how a traditional barbecue joint in North Carolina roast an entire hog over live fire. It’s not something that I can attempt anytime soon, but it’s still fascinating to learn the culture and people behind this tradition.
This week, as a tribute to the element of fire, I decided to replicate a dish I had in Las Vegas- sage fried chicken with leeks. But instead of frying, I decided on roasting the bird. In this dish, I used sage and butter to flavor the chicken legs, which I found out was a heavenly combo. Add in the leeks to roast alongside the meat, it was a perfect mix of aromatic herbs with irresistible butter and meaty vegetable. So here it is: sage+butter+leeks+chicken.
Sage Roast Chicken with Leeks
- 6 chicken legs with skin
- 1 handful of fresh sage leaves
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 large stalk of leek
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Loosen the skin from chicken and make several cuts with a knife on each chicken leg. Stuff sage leaves and lemon slices underneath the skin. Season with salt and pepper.
Wash the stalk of leek and slice length-wise in half or quarter. Salt and pepper. Arrange leeks next to chicken legs in a baking dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the inside is thoroughly cooked.