Last night I made Salt Baked Chicken. The recipe came straight out of the January / February Issue of Cooking Light Magazine and was part of their Chinese New Year menu. (Yes, I realize this is not a very pretty picture and that I should have tucked the wings under. If you want a perfect picture, get a copy of the magazine, sheesh.)
Anyway, I probably make a baked chicken every week, more for the leftovers than anything else. To me, most baked chickens are down right boring. And, if you pay attention to those stupid pop up timers you can guarantee yourself a dried out, chewy bird.
Now, I have discovered a recipe that takes the boring out of the bird and replaces it with a juicy bite full of asian infused flavors. I didn’t think it was possible quite frankly, but I now stand corrected. The original recipe you will find below with no alterations. My personal alterations were as follows. I did not have dried tangerine peel, so instead I substituted 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup water and the juice of one lime. I did not have green onions and I don’t think it mattered, oh, and I used kosher salt instead of sea salt.
This is not a recipe for the weeknight if you both work and don’t get started until after 5pm since the chicken needs to rest for an hour at room temperature before baking. Don’t try to skip this step. I think it is key to creating a moist and juicy bird.
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (1 x 2 inch) strip of dried tangerine peel
1 (4/5 ounce to 5 pound) roasting chicken
5 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 Tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 green onions, cut into 1 – inch pieces
Combine 2 1/2 cups boiling water and tangerine peel in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 mintues. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. (If you are skipping this step as I did, just mix 1 cup orange juice with 1 cup water and juice of one lime and set aside.)
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1 tablespoon salt under skin; let stand 5 minutes. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on the rack of a roasting pan; let stand 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Transfer chicken to a work surface. Combine remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, shallots, ginger, wine, soy sauce, oil and honey in a small bowl. Rub 3 tablespoons shallot mixture inside cavity of chicken. Place onions and tangerine peel inside cavity. (I put in the lime halves.) Rub remaining shallot mixture under loosened skin.
Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour reserved tangerine soaking liquid (or orange juice mixture) into a shallow roasting pan; place rack in pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees (for me this took 50 minutes) and skin has turned a dark golden brown color. Let stand 15 minutes. Discard skin and slice. Yield: 8 servings
I served this fabulous bird with some oven roasted butternut squash and red onions over sauted Dandelion Greens which were delicious. I think next time though, I will pair it with some interesting asian side dishes. If you have some suggestions for me, please send them my way.