This post has been YEARS in the making. I made these once about 7 years ago, and they were delicious but suuuuper spicy. Those chipotle chilis in adobo deliver! I always wanted to remake them, but this time I wanted to tame the sauce just a teeny bit. The result was a delicious, sticky, medium heat chicken wing, with the added fun of a dipping sauce.
My mom used to make oven fried chicken a lot. I remember coming home on Sundays from church, and we were likely to have one of three dishes: Pot roast, meatloaf, or oven fried chicken. Mashed potatoes on the side, no matter what. When I was little, my parents didn’t cook many dishes that were outside of those classic American staples, but they cooked each one of them well. I loved my Mom’s oven fried chicken, but I tried to make it recently and I felt like it could use a few modern improvements (no offense, Mom, I love you!)
We’ve been enjoying that pig over and over again. This time we tucked into one of the roasts! Funny thing is, Joel grabbed this out of the freezer and I totally thought it was a different roast…. a boneless Pork Loin roast. When I looked at the package again to check if it was thawed, I felt something funny… a bone! After planning a completely different meal all morning, I realized the mistake and saw the label on the package. Good thing I noticed that this is a bone-in pork shoulder roast, or we would have been eating dinner at 9pm. This roast is far easier then the menu I was imagining, as long as you start it about 4 hours before you plan to eat it!
Sometimes what I want to eat and what I feel like cooking are disparate feelings.
I want to eat doughnuts. I do not feel like standing over frying oil right now. I want to eat roasted chicken and have the convenience of cooked chicken in my fridge to turn into pizza toppings, sandwiches and all kinds of snacks. I do not feel like turning on my oven, not in this heat! In fact, could we just remove the oven from my house and put it in my backyard? Now there’s a place I could cook. It’s already 90 degrees and I don’t have to worry if something gets spilled (which it always does.) Which leads me to grilling.
Hey, here’s an idea. Grill a whole chicken. Could this be done? Won’t the breast end up dry and the thighs be pink? I can’t control a grill… especially not a charcoal grill. Agggh but chicken itself is so delectable on the grill. Maybe I could spatchcock it. If you don’t know what spatchcocking is, I ask you, where were last Thanksgiving? Because everyone and their Grandma was doing it. It’s also called butterflying, if you are too shy to say spatchcock. But I’m not. So what is it? Basically you are removing the backbone from the chicken. It will help the chicken to cook more evenly and faster because it makes the chicken lie in one flat layer. Now the other issue. The breast. How do we make sure it is tender and the dark meat cooked all the way through? I’m borrowing another T-Day secret… brining.
Brining adds flavor and moisture, as the salt reacts with the muscle proteins to actually dissolve the muscle filaments. So when brining is involved it is usually to keep the entire piece of meat moist, especially when dealing with whole birds that have both light and dark meat parts. The only thing to watch out for is the gravy. Many times a roasted bird that has been brined will result in gravy that is too salty. We’ve made gravy with brined, home rotisserie chickens before, but I usually do not need to add even the tiniest amount of salt. And of course, it depends on how much salt you add to the brine. (See this really interesting article on the science of brining: http://stellaculinary.com/blog/science-behind-brining.)
This bird went on the grill, so there’s no gravy to worry about, since it’s summer and I’m not about to turn that oven on (you don’t see it in my backyard, do you?)
Here’s how I made this chicken dinner:
Brine and prep the chicken. You only need to leave it in the brine for 2-3 hours, first removing the backbone and flattening the breastbone allows this chicken to cook evenly and a little faster then if it were still in a round shape. This is also called (giggle) spatchcocking. My Thanksgiving will never be the same.
For the brine:
Mix together salt, water and sugar, then crush some rosemary, garlic cloves and peppercorns. I crushed mine in a plastic bag (beating it with a rolling pin. Frustrations=gone.)
To butterfly the chicken:
Take it out of the wrapper, set it on a secured cutting board (with a wet towel or piece of grippy shelf liner so your board doesn’t slip around) and be sure to remove the packet of gizzards and neckbone that come with it. This packet of joyfulness should be inside the cavity of the bird. Save it! It’s great for making chicken stock. Store in your freezer, along with other leftover chicken bones, for fall. Fall is the best time to make stock/bone broth.
Place the chicken breast side down on the board, and the tail of the chicken pointed towards you.
Feel with your hands where the backbone is… straight down the center of the bird. (See how the wings are furthest away from me? And the breast is on the board? That’s what we want!) You are going to cut up each side of the backbone, leaving it in tact. You are not going to try to cut through the backbone. Make sense? Here’s a little diagram:
Cut up one side:
Cut up the other side:
Set your backbone aside (add it to the bag for stock) and open up the chicken and lay it open side down, flattening it out as much as you can. Place your hand on the largest part of the breasts, in the center, and push down to break the breast bone. This will flatten the chicken even more and help the cooking time and even-ness:
This is as flat as it’s gonna get!
Put the chicken in the brine, making sure it’s completely covered. If the chicken wants to float, weigh it down with a small plate. Cover the brine and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
When the chicken is almost done in the brine, start to prep the grill. I’m really not (yet) a skilled charcoal grill master. This was the first time I grilled without Joel home, and I’m impressed that nothing caught fire and I didn’t burn myself. Before this I’ve grilled a total of 4 times, under very high supervision. But I just really wanted to make this chicken, so as they say, I just figured it out. And texted Joel. A lot. But one thing I did google before I started this. I read that by putting the hot coals one side of the grill, you will give yourself a hot area and cooler area. Then, when you place the chicken on the grill, face the legs/thighs toward the hotter area, leaving the breast to cook on the cooler area (trust me, it’s still plenty hot!). This is just one more step to ensuring moist and tender white meat and dark meat that is cooked all the way through.
The grill we use is just a little weber with a chimney starter and 100% natural hardwood briquettes. Before you light anything on fire, open the vents on the bottom and remove the grate. You’ll put the grate back after you heat the coals. Put paper in the bottom of the chimney starter (under the little grate inside of the starter), put any used coals that are still in your barbecue on top of that (these will help the new coals light) then top with new coals until its about flush with the top of the chimney. It will smoke a lot when you first light the paper, but then the smoke will die down and the coals will start going. When the coals on the top are looking white-ish, they are hot. Carefully pour them mostly onto one side, into the grill belly (I totally just made up that term. No idea if it’s real or not.)
While the grill is heating, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it. Pat it dry with paper towels and put it in a dish or on a baking sheet. Allow it to sit out for 15 min or so and make sure the skin is really dry. Season the chicken and brush with oil. I added the zest of a lemon, mostly on a whim. It was a good whim.
Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, legs facing the hot coals. Grill for 20 minutes, then flip, and grill another 20 minutes, covered with the lid vents open halfway. Flipping is easier if you have two pairs of tongs, but the chicken meat stays together pretty well.
You may need one final sear on the first side (the skin side) right before serving. This will be maybe 5-7 more minutes if you place it right over the hottest part.
This chicken served two adults the day it was made, then went on to become chicken salad sandwiches, and then just a giant salad with sliced chicken, tomatoes, and corn on romaine.Having cooked chicken around is always a great excuse to make a sandwich or a salad – especially in the summer when it’s too hot to cook.
The pickled cherries were sooo good with this. Alternate between bites of chicken and cherry… it’s really a great way to savor the summer.
Brined and Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken
Recipe Type: Chicken, Main Dish
Serves: 6 servings
For the brine:
1/2 cup salt (iodized sea salt)
1/2 cup organic sugar
2-3 garlic cloves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 gallon cold water
1-4(ish) pound chicken, organic if possible, lightly rinsed and giblets/neck bones removed from the inside of the cavity.
Pepper, fresh ground
Zest of one organic lemon
Grill and Charcoal briquettes, paper, lighter
Pickled Cherries, for serving, optional
Make the brine by mixing the water, salt, and sugar in a large pot. A stainless steel soup pot is what I commonly use. Place the garlic, rosemary and pepper corns in a zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin (with a few good wacks!) then add it to the water mixture. Set aside while you handle the chicken.
Remove the backbone from the bird by setting the breast side down of the chicken on a cutting board (a cutting board that has either a damp/wet towel under it to secure it from slipping, or a grippy piece of shelf liner). Make sure the breasts are away from you and the opening of the chicken is closest to you. Cut off the excess skin that is around the tail of the chicken. With kitchen shears, begin cutting along one side of the backbone all the way up towards the “shoulder blades” (the area in between each wing). Now you have cut the chicken open. You want to cut the same way up the other side of the backbone to fully remove it. Save the backbone for chicken stock (put it in a plastic bag in your freezer).
Turn the bird over and flatten it out as best as you can. You need to break the breastbone now, and it’s easier then you think. Place the palm of your hand on the upper middle area of the breast and give it a firm downward push. It usually takes me one or two good shoves against the cutting board, and then the bird looks pretty flattened.
Put it in the brine. If it wants to float, like mine did, place a small, heavy plate on the top of it to weigh it down. It needs to be totally submerged in the brine. Cover the pot and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours, but no more then 4.
When the bird is almost done brining, you can pre-heat and prep your grill. Remove the grill grate, set aside. Open any bottom vents, open the lid vent halfway. Put paper in the bottom of the chimney starter; put any used coals that are still in your barbeque on top of that (these will help the new coals light-yes I’m talking about reaching in the cold grill with your bare hands and getting them dirty. Grilling with charcoal is a dirty business.) Top the old coals with new coals until it is about flush with the top of the chimney. Light the paper in the bottom. It will smoke a lot when you first light the paper, but then the smoke will die down and the coals will start going. This will heat up while you finish prepping the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine down the kitchen sink. Lightly rinse it and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on a tray or platter, skin side up and make sure that the skin is as dry as possible. Season with ground pepper and the lemon zest, then brush olive oil all over the skin.
The bird is prepped, go check on your coals.
When the coals on the top are looking white-ish, they are hot. Carefully pour them mostly onto one side (not in the center) of the grill belly.
Place the grill grate back on the grill. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, with legs pointing into the hot side, where the coals are, and breast pointed away to the cooler side (where there are no coals.) Cover with the lid and cook 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, flip, making sure the legs are still facing the hot side, and cook 20 more minutes, covered. You may need one final sear on the first side (the skin side) right before serving. This will be maybe 5-7 more minutes if you place it right over the hottest part.
Remove to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes. Make sure it is cooked, but poking the tip of a knife in the dark meat. If the juices run clear, and the meat is opaque, it’s cooked. You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast or thigh, being careful not to touch the bone. It’s done at 160 degrees F. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs, lemon wedges and pickled cherries and cut in to pieces to serve.
This fried chicken has been a craving since I saw it in a recent cook book purchase, Party Like a Culinista. These ladies are full of fun tips and recipes for throwing major parties, small parties, or just cooking up some delicious food!
Take this fried chicken, for example. It’s crispy, juicy, you can make it ahead, and it’s gluten free! HELLLO! Genius.
Brown rice flour does wonders here, as does a buttermilk soak (I’m currently obsessed with buttermilk) and a spice mix they call in their book “The Colonel.” HA.
I love the fry/bake method. I want to try this with bone-in chicken wings and a spicy asian style sauce next time!
Here’s how you do it. You want to start the chicken a day ahead or at least let it marinate for 4 hours (you could easily throw this together before work in the morning and come home to some chicken dinner!)
Make the spice mixture: combine garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne…basically this is your secret spice blend and you’ll use half your cabinet, but it’s awesome.
You use the mixture in the marinade for the chicken, the flour coating AND the gravy. I loved this idea, it really made the spices stand out! Below: buttermilk and spices get mixed together, spices and brown rice flour get mixed together.
Put the buttermilk in a ziptop bag and pour the buttermilk mixture over it.
Let this sit at least 4 hours or overnight. When you are ready to cook, get your station ready! Preheat the oven and heat the oil to 350. Then take the chicken out of the buttermilk and toss it, a piece at a time, with the flour mixture. Delicious, delicious fried chicken.
This goes (on the rack) into the oven and is baked for 10 minutes. The result is delicious, crispy, flavorful chicken. It’s chicken breast! It’s gluten-free! It’s make-ahead! It’s completely perfect for summer or your next picnic.
We had this with roasted fingerling potatoes and gravy (recipe below). I also made a romaine salad with cucumber, avocado, blue cheese, sunflower seeds and a homemade kefir ranch dressing! A salad like that goes perfect with this comfort food chicken.
Crispy Gluten Free Fried Chicken
Recipe Type: Dinner, Main Dish
Serves: 4 servings
Gluten Free Crispy Fried Chicken
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the chicken:
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half (or thighs, left whole, or a mix of both)
vegetable oil for frying
For the gravy:
6 tablespoons ap flour (or brown rice flour, if you want to do this gluten free)
3 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
2 teaspoons reserved spice mix
Mix up the spices. In a small bowl measure and mix up the spice blend. Measure out the rice flour and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the spice mix to the rice flour and whisk together or stir with a fork. Set aside.
Marinate the chicken: In a ziptop bag set inside of a glass bowl, set the chicken in the bottom of the plastic bag. In a small measuring cup, add the buttermilk and 1/2 the remaining spice mix and blend together. Save the remaining spice mix for the gravy. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the plastic bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and gently massage it so that the chicken is coated with the spicy buttermilk. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
To cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Find a rack and a baking sheet that will fit the rack inside of it. Fill a cast iron skillet or large pot with at least 1” of the vegetable oil and use a candy thermometer to heat to 350 degrees over medium heat.
When the oil is right around 350, you are ready to fry the chicken! Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge, and dump the flour and spice mixture on a large plate or small tray. You want it big enough to fit a few pieces of chicken at a time. Take one piece of chicken out of the buttermilk mixture, pausing over the bag to let the excess buttermilk drip off the chicken. You can gently shake the chicken to help it drain. Place the chicken into the flour mixture and toss to coat it with flour, then gently shake to remove excess flour. I found it helpful to coat three pieces of chicken at a time, then add them to the oil at once. Carefully drop each piece into the hot oil, standing back from the oil a bit as you drop them in. Fry until crispy on the bottom side, about 4-5 minutes, then check the bottom by flipping them over with long handled metal tongs. If they look golden brown, flip them, and fry on the other side 3-4 minutes. When they are crispy and lightly brown on all sides, remove the pieces from the oil and place on the rack that is set over a baking sheet. This allows the excess grease to drip away from the chicken, and they won’t get soggy. Repeat with the remaining chicken, frying it all up and putting it on the rack.
When all the chicken has been fried, bake in the oven for 10 minutes. If you want to make this ahead, keep warm in the oven at 300 degrees until ready to serve, but not for too long!
The gravy is simple. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, until it is smooth and blended. Add in the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute.
Slowly stir in the chicken stock until smooth. Add the reserved spice mix, about 2 teaspoons (you might have extra spice mix to save for another time). Cook on medium, whisking occasionally until the gravy thickens up. If you used brown rice flour, you can blend with an immersion blender after 10 minutes to make sure it is smooth.
I’m a podcast fiend. I’m that girl that starts off every other sentence with “I was listening to this podcast the other day…” It’s probably annoying. I don’t know. But I learn so much, and now I’m addicted to several podcasts. On that I love is Splendid Table. I was listening to it the other day when they started talking about wines with cured meats and it reminded me of my days working as a dishwasher at Les Caves in Corvallis. The Caves kitchen crew would always talk about the fact that they are a “from scratch kitchen” and that was no lie. They made their own charcuterie, and it’s where I had my first bresaola. Bresaola (brez-oh-lah) is a cured beef, and it’s not like a chopped up and formed cured meat like salami or sausages, it’s like on whole piece of beef that has been salted and air dried. According to Pinterest is one of the easier cured meats to make at home! This is something I’ll have to try.
So with the memories of my first bresaola swirling around in my mind while I listened to Lynne talk to Joshua Wesson about wine. Joshua pointed out that red wine actually over powers cured meats, and a lighter wine, be it sparkly or lightly chilled, is a great choice for cured meats.
This bresaola is so beefy and full of savory flavor, I paired it with a slightly sweet, but not too sweet, Lions Lair 2013 South African Rosé. It was lovely! An appetizer that I probably would have paired with a Cab Sav, prior to listening to the Splendid Table podcast episode. The bresaola went really well with a lighter wine that didn’t destroy my palate and allowed the flavor of the beef to open up in new ways. With such a strong flavor, something sweet to wash it down with softens the salt and brings out the unctuous flavor like I haven’t experienced before.
When I had bresaola at Caves, it was served very simply.
Here’s what you do: have your sliced bresaola nearby and get your hands on some sliced baguette or other fresh artisan style bread. Slice up a lemon into wedges. A decent olive oil is best here, like a peppery or fruity one, whatever you can afford as a finishing oil. If you don’t have a fancy olive oil, stop by Olive and Vine if you are in the Portland area. If you simple cannot find or afford another ingredient, use the olive oil you cook with, but at least make sure it’s relatively fresh.
To build your perfect bite, layer a pice of bresaola on the slice of bread, squeeze the lemon over it and drizzle it with olive oil. Then, take a bite. It’s salty, it’s fatty, it melts in your mouth.
These are really fun to build as you go, so when you serve it, show your fellow at home happy hour friends how to make their bites.
A note on the price of this cured meat: bresaola can be a bit expensive, but a little goes a long way because it is such a strong flavor. For example, the bresaola I got from New Seasons was 29.99 per pound, but I asked the guy at the meat counter for 8 or 10 slices, which is plenty for two people (for each “bite” you could even use half a slice of bresaola to stretch it a little more) and that only cost around $2.50. It’s great like this, on its own, or as part of a larger antipasto platter of cured meats.
Bresola with the right kind of wine
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Author: Sugar Pickles
8 slices bresaola
1 lemon, cut into wedges
olive oil for drizzling
On a slice of baguette, layer a slice (or half) of bresaola. Squeeze lemon over the bresaola, drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!
Excellent served with a chilled white wine or Rose.
I’m not Irish, but I love the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland looks so beautiful and rugged. At least according to Waking Ned Divine and P.S I love you. The green hills, the smoky and cozy pubs. And just what IS IT about those accents? I don’t know….
This is going to be a showstopper! If you were looking for the perfect Valentine’s Dinner, look no further (unless you’re a vegetarian…)
This complex combination of Haitian coffee, natural cocoa and spices rubbed all over a beer cross rib roast (which is much more affordable then a beef tenderloin, but still delicious) is great for a fancy dinner, but also makes plenty for sandwiches and leftovers all week.
Also, it’s super simple. No hot oil, no smoky kitchen, just mix up the rub and slather it on the beef and call it a day. Your dinner is done, my friend.
The rub has a special coffee that my friend Aslan gave me. She’s currently starting a business that will import coffee, jewelry and other amazing handmade goods. Check out the kickstarter page and consider getting your special someone a Valentine’s gift that gives back! Empower Haiti Together kickstarter page.
Back to the rub. You probably have everything to make this! I used Haitian coffee, but any good quality coffee will do. I totally want to try this on other meats…. I actually think some sort of rubbed bacon situation would be amazing! Brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, oh yea baby.
To “sear” the beef, you’ll want to cook it at 450 degrees for 15 minutes first, then lower the oven to 350 degrees to finish it to your desired doneness. I love medium rare, so that’s what I went for here. I cooked my 3.13lb roast for 60 minutes more after lowering the oven to 350. We like ours medium rare, but here’s a cooking chart for more times and temperatures: beef cooking chart.
What to serve with this? Potatoes and salad, or a simple roast of potatoes and vegetables together. Keep it simple, open some wine, and you can’t go wrong.
Coffee and Cocoa Beef Roast
Serves: 8 servings
⅓ cup fresh ground coffee
¼ cup cocoa powder
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
For the beef:
1 beef cross rib roast, about 3 pounds
salt and pepper (to taste)
Mix the rub ingredients together and store in an airtight container like a mason jar. You can use this on other meats too! This can be done a month ahead of time.
For the beef, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil on the beef roast and put a little in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or heavy roasting pan.
Rub the spice mixture all over the roast, using about 3 tablespoons to 1/4 of a cup.
Place the roast in the pan, then put the pan in the oven. Roast at 450 for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 and cook an additional 50-60 minutes or until you reach your desired doneness. Check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. I went until mine was at about 130, for medium rare. See beef cooking chart for more temperatures.
Let it rest for at least 15 mintues. The temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees, so keep that in mind. Thinly slice against the grain and serve with salt and pepper to taste.