Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Iberian Chicken

Roast chicken in my home has seen a thousand reinventions. In my youth, I remember my Dad trying to roast chicken in an aluminum oil vat and some charcoal in the backyard. He put the dressed chicken under the vat with the charcoal around it. Every 15 minutes he would push the hot coals closer to the vat. The suspense was palpable as we eagerly await a golden juicy bird at lunch. The first time he tried it, the chicken got burned to a cinder. The highly anticipated golden fowl was a hunk of inedible blackened meat. Oh boy, did we have a good laugh from that incident.

But Dad, never the quitter, vowed to perfect the craft. He practised and practised and practised. Even my friends got introduced to this "exotic" way of cooking chicken. Let's just say I didn't want to look at chicken for a while after that year.

And do you remember the good old days when the Turbo Broiler was first introduced? Anyone can make roast chicken then. Just slap a bird with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon and voila! Thus the birth of the immortal Turbo Chicken. We once had a maid who didn't know how to make anything but Turbo Chicken. I could grow wings by the sheer number of times she served us the same dish over and over again.

Then came the dawn of the restaurant business boom in Manila. All the cuisines of the world have made their debut here. The once simple Filipino palette was introduced to a cornucopia of tastes that made us well, more "sophisticated". I first had a taste of this Spanish dish in a restaurant named Rastro. You have to pre-order this dish 24 hours before you dine. It was juicy, well-seasoned and falling-off-the-bones tender. And swimming in extra virgin olive oil. Well if you knew me well enough, you'd know I'd take a crack at copying this dish when I got home. And copy I did. Here's my perfected version after about four revisions.

Iberian Chicken

1.5 to 2 kilos whole dressed chicken
1 head garlic, minced
2 stalks tanglad (lemongrass), pounded
juice of 4 calamansi (Philippine lime)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
1 piece chicken bouillion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 medium carrots, cubed
1/2 kilo baby potatoes

1. Halve chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Lay seasoned chicken halves in roasting pan. Sprinkle minced garlic and lemongrass over chicken.
4. Put carrot and baby potatoes around the chicken.
5. Mix together water, chicken boullion, mustard and olive oil. Pour mixture chicken and vegetables.
6. Sprinkle chicken with rosemary.
7. Bake at 350F for 2 hours or until juices run clear and skin is golden.
8. Let roast chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
9. For an extra special treat, you can sprinkle the chicken with a little truffle salt but that's optional.

Note: You can also serve it with sauteed African green beans. Just brown some garlic in butter. Add the washed green beans. Toss for a minute or two. Lastly, season with a little salt and pepper.

1 comment:

Haddock said...

Ways and means of learning.
Like the way your dad experimented.