Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thai-Inspired Roasted Chicken

I do not roast chicken frequently enough.  Which is a huge shame.  They are so ridiculously simple--a bit of salt, pepper and oil; a hot oven; one hour.  Done.  The bird practically presents itself.   And my favorite part...picking the last bits of meat off of the carcass and making my own stock.  Growing up that was one task I was always happy to help my mom with after we had eaten our fill (as did the dog...I wasn't too terribly careful about keeping a scrap to two from hitting the floor).

It doesn't take much to make a memorable meal.  Nor is much needed to notch the roast chicken up to the next level.  Dara certainly sent this simple roast through the roof with this amazing Thai-inspired recipe.  I was eagerly waiting the opportunity to try this recipe out.

adapted from Dara's recipe at Generation Y Foodie

serves 4-6

The Ingredients:
for the marinade
1 1/2  cups low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup or a small handful fresh cilantro
2 Thai chilies (seeded for less heat)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 small limes, juiced and zest
1 Tbsp tamarind paste

for the chicken
4 to 5lb roasting chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 small handful of cilantro, washed
1 lime, quartered

The Process:
for the marinade
Rinse the chicken inside and out, drain and pat dry.  Place in a gallon-sized freezer bag.

In a food processor or blender, combine all marinade ingredients and pulse until pureed. Pour marinade over the chicken in freezer bag.  Squeeze out excess air and zip shut.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 3 or more hours or preferably overnight.

to roast:
Preheat the oven to 425.

Lightly oil a roasting pan slightly larger than the size of the chicken.  Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of the pan, building them up more towards the side.

Remove chicken from the bag of marinade and and loosely pack cilantro and quartered limes into the cavity.    Discard the remaining marinade.  Place the chicken in the roasting pan amid the onions.  Rub the chicken with olive oil.  Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. 

Roast at 425 for 45-60 minutes  or until internal temperature reaches 165 and the juices run clear.  Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Transfer to a serving platter with the onion, garnish with additional lime and cilantro.  Carve and serve!

The Review:
The picture does not do this bird justice.  Though it is hard to set up a good photo with a hungry crowd in the wings!   My husband understands the quirkiness our mealtimes have become infused with.  He'll smile in quiet bemusement.  Dinner guests and friends still eye me and my camera with bewilderment.... 

As with many other brined and marinaded meats, this bird was amazingly moist and tender.  The skin crisped up beautifully (though I think mine could have benefited from another 5-10 minutes in the oven.  The lime penetrated the meat through and through provided a wonderfully refreshing tang. 

While the bird was incredibly flavorful, much of the uniqueness of the marinade dissipated.  Hints of lime, cilantro and fish sauce were present, but not the heat I was expecting.  Granted, my bird did only marinate for about four hours. I do think quite a bit more garlic, ginger and perhaps a bit of lemongrass is called for should I try this version again. That being said, the stock I made from the carcass was infused through and through with the wonderful Thai influence.  I'll have to save it for a Southeast Asian inspired soup!

Though honestly, I think the onions were my favorite part. After simmering in the lime and cilantro scented chicken drippings, these were bursting with sweet and savory flavor.  It was a shame I only sliced up two!


  1. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that I've never roasted a chicken. I just, I don't know why... this looks like it might a perfect one to try though with all those lovely flavors!

  2. Was thinking curry spices or lemon n rosemary for the chicken lurking in my fridge. You've upped the stakes with these gorgeous thai flavours - have everything except the fish sauce - going shopping...

  3. OOhh!!! This is one my whole family would love!! Well done!