Saturday, December 01, 2012
It is often overrated. In this crowded world we find ourselves tangled in, voluntarily or not. Things are overanalyzed, assumptions easily made, judgements passed in a whim. All these infections, selfishness and impurities, getting into the way we cook and eat.
On a Sunday morning miles away on another island, despite the hot sun and noisy pedaling of stall vendors, I took comfort in finding one ingredient. As the seller's face beamed with excitement, I tucked my bag of local chilies into my bag, knowing they survive the journey to my kitchen and be put to good use.
Then I contemplated simplicity. The reason one cooks, eats and shares food. Those colorful sweet peppers in my refrigerator, the bird I love to roast. The idea I know you will come up with too, in your own kitchen.
So as I flip through that new release of my inspiration, I remember why I love to cook. As I butterfly and massage the chicken, willing it to taste good with a melange of Asian pairings, I remember why I want to share everything with you.
And as you share it with your friends and family, just as we did with an old friend over dinner, let simplicity guide our hearts to the true, holistic purpose of food - to nourish our bodies and tickle our tastebuds. Away from noise, complications and malice.
Spicy Flat Roasted Chicken with Sweet Peppers
Spatchcock method and cooking time referred from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.3-1.5 kilograms)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- olive oil for marinate and roasting
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced
- 2-3 red onions, sliced
- 5-6 cloves garlic, smacked
- 2 large limes, sliced
- 1 bunch fresh coriander
- 2 stalks lemongrass, peeled, white part only, smacked
- 5-6 fresh chillies (I used cabik geronong from Sarawak, you can use any fragrant hot chillies)
- 300 grams assorted mini sweet peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
- 5-6 tablespoons chicken stock (or any leftover roasting gravy)
To spatchcock the chicken, lay it flat on a chopping board, backbone side up. With a pair of sharp kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it. This can be kept to make stock or as trivet for roasting. Open up the chicken to expose the breast bone. With a small paring knife, make a small incision on the bone. Flip the chicken over and press down gently on the breast bone to flatten the chicken. Tuck wings in and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 430°F/220°C. Line a baking dish with parchment, alternatively you can use a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a roasting tray.
Lay out onion slices, crushed garlic cloves and sliced limes. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper, add a few drizzles of olive oil. Place a small bunch of fresh coriander in the middle, reserve some for garnish. Place one of the lemongrass stalks and some of the chilies on top of the coriander. Lay the chicken directly on top of the coriander to cover it (so it doesn't burn). Scatter the rest of the chilies and lemongrass around the chicken, pour over the chicken stock/gravy and add a little more oil.
Roast in for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Lay out the mini sweet peppers around the chicken and baste all over with roasting juices. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is just done. Serve immediately with buttered rice or crusty garlic bread.
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
“Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.”
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