Laugh, Social Sundays

Social Sundays – Roast Sage Chicken & Smoky Steak Fries, and Mini Cherry Hand-Pies!

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Social Sundays is a special time to enjoy the art of cooking.  Whether you are an expert in the kitchen, a novice or somewhere in the middle — Sundays are the perfect stress-free day to shop and prepare a delicious meal for family and friends.  Our menu this weekend is Roast Sage Chicken & Smoky Steak Fries, and Mini Cherry Hand-Pies.  If this doesn’t say, “Comfort Food,” then I don’t know what does!  Either you can prepare this meal all by yourself, or as I recommend, invite some helpers into the kitchen and engage in a cooking conversation and make a day of it.

We usually start by preparing dessert first, because it tends to take a little longer.  These Mini Cherry Hand-Pies are such a treat and the ingredients are a no-brainer.  I prefer to buy frozen sweet-cherries for this recipe, because the dough stays nice and cold and keeps its shape when baked.

Next, we prepare the Roast Sage Chicken — this bird needs a little oven time.  If you have ever made Roast Chicken, there it is an art to getting a crunchy exterior – butter.  Butter achieves an extra golden-brown exterior and placing some sage leaves under the skin, adds aromatics of Thanksgiving — who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?  This bird is something you will make over and over again – say goodbye to those store bought rotisserie chickens.

Smoky Steak Fries are an easy preparation of thick-cut finger length potatoes, with a little smoked paprika sprinkled over the top.  The trick to excellent baked fries is to roast them long enough, so the water evaporates, and the potatoes get crispy brown, about 45 minutes or so (half the cooking time of the Roast Chicken).

This Classic American Menu has red, white & blue written all over it.  So, if it’s too chilly to barbecue on Memorial Day, this would definitely be a festive menu to prepare all over again.  I hope you enjoy this meal as much as me — it does provide some fabulous leftovers for the week — another added bonus!

Mini Cherry Hand-Pies



2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar + more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter, diced

1/2 cup ice cold water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 egg, beaten


2 cups frozen sweet cherries, about 12 ounces

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

(Makes 1 Dozen)

To Prepare:

1. In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt, pulse twice.  Add the diced butter and pulse 10 times. Turn the processor on, and pour in the water and vinegar through the feed tube.  When the dough begins to come together, stop.  Remove dough and wrap in plastic and form into a disc.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In the food processor, add all the filling ingredients and pulse 8 times.  Unwrap the dough and roll out onto a floured surface.  Using a 5-inch ring, can or glass, cut out circles and place them on a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan.

3.  Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle, and brush the perimeter with beaten egg.  Fold in half to seal, and crimp edges with a fork.  Sprinkle the tops of hand-pies with sugar, about 1/2 teaspoon each.  Repeat, until filling is gone.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  It’s okay if they ooze a little, they still are delicious.  Cool to room temperature and serve.  Enjoy!

Roast Sage Chicken


5 pound whole organic chicken

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

12 sage leaves + more for garnish

salt & pepper

5 stalks celery

(Serves 4-6)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the chicken from any packaging and pat dry.  Rub the chicken with butter all over the skin.  Using your fingers, loosen the breast skin and smear with more butter.  Place the sage leaves under the skin and salt and pepper generously.

2.  Place the celery in the bottom of a roasting pan and put chicken on top.  Tuck wings under its body and tie the legs together with kitchen string.  Roast in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature becomes 165 degrees.  You can check the chicken temperature by placing a cooking thermometer between the leg and breast meat, not close to a bone.

3.  Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with foil for at least 10 minutes, so the juices have time to rest within the meat of the bird.  Remove from the pan and place on a cutting board.  Slice chicken and drizzle with pan juices.  Enjoy!

Smoky Steak Fries


6 large Yukon Gold potatoes

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

(Serves 4-6)

1. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch by 4 inch pieces, leaving the skins on.  Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil and toss the sliced potatoes in the oil.  Sprinkle the potatoes with paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper.  Spread the potatoes out flat on the sheet pan.

2.  Add the sheet pan to the oven with the Roast Chicken or in a separate oven if you have two, and roast for 30 minutes.  After removing the chicken from the oven, increase the temperature to 425 and flip the potatoes with a spatula and spread out flat.  Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon remaining salt.  Serve with the chicken.  Enjoy!

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