- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2004

There are all kinds of tricks to fill your kitchen with an inviting aroma without having to cook all day. Real estate agents suggest we simmer apple cider with cinnamon sticks if we’re hosting an open house for prospective buyers. The fragrance, similar to just-baked apple pie, weakens resistance.

The smell of just-popped popcorn puts a smile on my face. The nutty scent tells me the household is going to snuggle up and watch a movie.

Dinner calls for other olfactory cues, though. When I want the other half of my household to think I’ve been slaving over a meal, I call for rosemary. This herb has a delightful woodsy perfume that permeates other ingredients in minutes. Your kitchen will smell as though you’ve been cooking for hours, even when you’re doing a fast-preparation recipe.

Try this technique with the easy rosemary-scented chicken that follows. Wrap boneless, skinless chicken thighs in bacon strips. Skewer the chicken so it’s coated with the bacon strip. Tuck a rosemary sprig between the chicken and bacon, and roast.

Serve rosemary-scented chicken with onion compote, another fragrant and mouthwatering dish. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll think you’re dining at an open-hearth cafe somewhere in the sunny Mediterranean.

Onion compote

1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup red wine

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine onion, red wine, honey and rosemary in a small skillet. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until wine is almost evaporated and onion is tender. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 servings.

Rosemary-scented chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 bacon slices

4 rosemary sprigs

Wrap each chicken thigh with a bacon slice, then spear with a metal skewer. Tuck rosemary sprig into bacon. Place on rack over shallow pan. Roast in preheated 400-degree oven 10 minutes per side. Makes 2 servings.


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