As always, when looking over the past year, Spoon-wise, there are a couple of runners-up of a “golden” moment. Here are my picks for a well-deserved revisit:

From my neighbor Catherine Hanson, here’s a great chicken dish. Calling for chicken thighs, it’s delicious, juicy and perfect for family and company.

Catherine says to use one thigh per person.

“If the thighs are small or your family/guests’ appetites large, adjust accordingly. Also use bone-in, skin-on thighs.”

Chicken Thighs Roasted with Lemon, Onions and Herbs

1 chicken thigh per person

1 medium yellow Spanish onion, peeled

1 c. medium or large garlic cloves (about 40 cloves), peeled

1 large lemon, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

15 fresh thyme sprigs

4 (3-inch-long) fresh rosemary sprigs

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and place them, skin-side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put baking sheet in refrigerator, uncovered, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours. Take thighs out of refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking time and bring to room temperature. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

Trim and discard root end of onion and cut in half, root to tip. Cut each half into ¼-inch slices, separate and spread in a single layer on bottom of large baking dish. Scatter garlic cloves over onions and top with lemon slices. Scatter thyme and rosemary sprigs on top of lemon. 

Prepare a double bed of paper towels on a flat work surface. Remove chicken from baking sheet and place, skin-side down, on towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper over bone side of chicken. Turn thighs over and repeat with salt and pepper on skin side. Transfer chicken to baking dish, nestling them, skin-side up, snugly next to one another on onions and seasonings. Arrange onions by pushing inward to compact bed under thighs. If chicken seems wet, pat dry with paper towels and reseason. Place in oven and roast 40 to 50 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a small knife. Turn oven to broiler setting and broil about 5 minutes or until skin is deep golden and crispy. 

To serve, move chicken off seasonings and discard lemon slices. Spoon thyme, rosemary, onions and garlic onto a large round or rectangular serving platter. Using tongs, place chicken, onions and garlic and serve.

And, here’s a perfect go-with, from the Elverhoj docent’s charming cookbook and the late Lois Skov Vind. Butter-baked rice is somewhat complicated to make. I’ve simplified it in the meantime.

Butter-baked Rice

Serves 8

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2½ c. water

1¼ c. long-grain rice

Dash of garlic salt

2½ tsp. salt

⅓ c. butter

2¼ c. chicken broth

Finely snipped (fresh) parsley

Combine water and salt, bring to boil and pour over rice. Let stand 30 minutes. Rinse rice with cold water and drain well. Melt butter in skillet. Add rice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is almost absorbed, about five minutes. Turn into 1½-quart casserole and sprinkle with garlic salt. Pour broth over and stir to combine. Bake covered in 325-degree oven for 45 minutes. Add parsley, fluff with fork and bake uncovered a few minutes longer. 

Suggestion: When making this, rinse rice first, then combine it with salted, 2½ cups boiling water in casserole dish used for baking. Add butter to mixture, stir to melt, combine, let stand for 30 minutes and don’t drain. Omit the garlic salt, chop up a garlic clove or two and toss with rice. Then, when ready to bake, everything’s in the casserole and there should be less washing up to deal with.

Santa Ynez Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com.

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