Sunday, April 20, 2008
THINK SPICE ... THINK CLOVES
Surfing around I came across this lovely blog,Canela & Comino by Gretchen. I love spicy food but not the fiery hot type - this blog has recipes with delicate spice flavors - Gretchen's challenge for using cloves for this month is just what I want and need.
My recipe is for KEVIN'S SPICED ROAST CHICKEN WITH POTATOES, PENANG STYLE. It's from a fabulous cook book, "Cradle of Flavor" by James Oseland, featuring "Home cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore." It's quite new, published in 2006 and has many. many rave reviews.
Here's KEVIN'S SPICED ROAST CHICKEN WITH POTATOES
1 whole free-range chicken, 3-1/2 pounds
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons double-black soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
2 pieces cinnamon stick, each 4 inches long
6 whole cloves
5 small red or yellow onions (about 1 pound), each no more than 3-1/2 inches long, halves (used shallots)
1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 pounds small potatoes such as Yukon Gold, Peruvian blue, or Maine, no more than 1-1/2 inches in diameter
1.Remove and discard the fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and thoroughly pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Tuck the wingtips behind the shoulders.
2.Place the chicken in a bowl large enough to hold it comfortably. Pour both soy sauces and the Worcestershire sauce over it. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and onions. Using your hands or a large spoon, turn the chicken a few times, making sure that some of the liquid, spices, and a few onion halves are slipped inside the cavity. Rub the inside and outside of the chicken with the pepper. Let the chicken marinate, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Turn the bird over every 15 minutes or so to distribute the marinade evenly. Its skin will darken a few shades from the sauces.
3.Toward end of the marinating, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
4.Place the chicken, breast side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Scatter the onions around the chicken, making sure that 1 or 2 halves remain inside the cavity. Rub the chicken inside and out with the softened butter. (I like to rub some underneath the breast skin as well, which helps make the breast meat juicier.) Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken, placing the cinnamon sticks and a few of the cloves inside the cavity. Cover the pan loose with aluminum foil
5.Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then turn it over. Tilt the pan toward you and, using a large spoon or baster, baste the chicken and its cavity with the pan juices. Cover the pan once more with the foil and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
6.Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes but don't peel them. Fill a 3-quart saucepan three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook at a rolling boil until they are just tender when pierced with a fork, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes will in a colander.
7. Add the cooked potatoes to the roasting pan. Combine them gently with the onions already in the pan and baste them well with the pan juices. Turn the chicken over again (it should be breast side up this time) and baste it once more. Continue roasting the chicken, uncovered now so that it can brown just a bit, until it's cooked. The total cooking time will range from 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. To test for doneness, using a fork, pierce the skin at the thigh joint and press down gently. The juices should have on the faintest tinge of pink. Or, you can insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. The chicken is ready when the thermometer registers 170 degrees F.
8.Place the chicken on a serving platter. Pour half of the pan juices over it and allow the chicken to rest for a least 10 minutes before carving (this allows time for the juices to be absorbed by the flesh). Place the potatoes and onions around the chicken or in in a serving bowl. Pour the remaining pan juices over the potatoes and onions. This chicken is best when served slightly warm. The flavors will be more pronounced and the flesh juicier.
Serve with boiled peas and roasted beets.
This is quite a fancy dish - a took a bit of fussing, what with the turning over and basting and the foil on and off. But I think it looks rather grand on its platter, a fine dinner to serve to guests. I've never roasted beets before; I ended up baking them like potatoes and it took well over an hour at 375 degrees F before they were ready. Altogether much grander than my usual casseroles; I'm quite excited about it.