Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spicy Lemon Grass and Lime Grilled Chicken

The famous Montreal Portuguese grilled chicken was my inspiration for creating my own similar grilled chicken with slightly more ingredients to give it an asian flare. There are two ways to cook a whole chicken : Oven roast or grilled. Grilled chicken on a BBQ is ultimately the best but the way I will show you how to roast chicken in the oven, will not disappoint you. With both methods, the chicken will have crispy skin, yet remain tender and juicy.

Recipe "au pif":
1 whole grain-fed chicken
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tbsp finely minced lemon grass (using the root)
4 garlic cloves finely minced
2 tbsps lime juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsps hot chili flakes
1 tsp hot chili paste
2 tsps seasoned or spicy salt (found in arabic or caribbean grocery stores), or simply salt
2 tsps ground paprika
2 tsps ground pepper
a pinch of each ; paprika, spicy salt and chili flakes to sprinkle over at last stage

To prepare the marinade, mix well all above ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl with a spoon.

How to spatchcock a chicken (flatten the chicken for the grill or the oven roast):
  1. Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a very sharp knife, cut from the neck to the tail end along either side of the backbone to remove.
  2. You'll be cutting through flesh and small bones, so you'll have to use some force; take special care if using a knife.
  3. Once the backbone is out, you'll have a clear view of the interior of the chicken.
    With both hands placed on the rib cage, crack open the chicken by opening it, like a book, toward the cutting board.
  4. Flip over, flatten the chicken with your fist and smooth the skin. You've spatchcocked your bird.
Marinate the chicken by rubbing with your hands all sides of the chicken, the skin and the interior, with the already prepared lemon grass-garlic-chili marinade. Let the chicken marinate for 24 hours or overnight in a well-sealed container or tupperware.
Having been marinated overnight, the chicken is ready for a second round of seasoning by simply sprinkling a pinch of each; the spicy salt, paprika and hot chili flakes one last time.
The chicken is ready to be grilled in the BBQ or roasted in the oven.
When grilling on the BBQ, set the thermostat to medium-high and keep the BBQ lid closed, but make sure to flip the chicken once in a while to maintain an even grill and avoid burning. The chicken should be cooked between an hour and an hour and a half.
When oven roasting, set the thermostat at 350F (preferably convectional roasting, if you have that luxury). Place the chicken in an oven bag and follow instructions. These oven bags do wonders to a nice big piece of poultry- they cut down the roasting time by almost half and make the most tender and juiciest chicken or turkey ever. Normally, without an oven bag, the roasting can take almost 2 and half hours. Let the chicken roast in the oven bag for about an hour and a half until the skin is golden brown. Once the skin is golden brown, it's a good indication that the meat is cooked. The juices at the bottom of the pan is a good sign that the chicken is moist and tender. Remove and discard the oven bag and the juices.
To add that final "grilled" touch, place the chicken in the oven and "broil" for about 2-3 minutes until parts of the skin are slightly burnt. And voilà, oven-roasted-broiled chicken without the BBQ.
The result is a bird that stays tender and juicy, yet still inherits traces of smoke typified by live fire. Chicken cooked this way is a crowd-pleaser.

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