Mexican Tropical Chile Roast Chicken (inspired by SUNSET Magazine, Feb 2011)
The honor of the “first” recipe choice goes to Mother M, who is in town for a visit this week. She was flipping through Sunset and hand-picked this recipe as something to try with no knowledge of my blogging intentions. So when she suggested that she’d like to make this for Tuesday night’s dinner, I pretty much jumped up and cheered! No really…. I did.
Ingredients: kosher salt, 10 garlic cloves, ancho chiles, dried Mexican oregano, 5 large limes, frozen pineapple juice concentrate.
This is a “brined” chicken recipe, so for the brine you put 1 qt. of water in a large pot and add 2/3 cup of kosher salt and heat it over high heat until all the salt is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat, and then add in 2 qts. of cold water, 2 tbsp. [dried Mexican] oregano (we didn’t have time to head to the Mexican market, so we stuck with the regular oregano), 1/4 cup ground ancho chiles (we used fresh poblanos – which is what is eventually dried anyhow), and 10 crushed garlic cloves. Put the pot in ice water to cool, then add the zest of all 5 limes along with 1/2 cup of squeezed lime juice and 2/3 cup of thawed pineapple juice concentrate.
Put chicken breast-down in the brine and be sure to weigh it down with something, like a small plate. Cover it up and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours (up to 12 hours).
When you’re ready to cook it, take it out of the brine (throw the brine away) and drain and pat dry the chicken. Then rub it up with some oil and let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes in the roasting pan.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and cook until the breast reaches a temp of 160° (45 to 55 minutes for a smaller bird or 1 to 1 1/4 hours for a larger one). When it’s done, let it rest for 10 minutes on a warm plate before cutting.
And… enjoy!!! You can serve it with your favorite Mexican sides, or just some corn or flour tortillas, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges, and chopped white onion.
I’m sure I’ll need to figure out some sort of rating system for all of these recipes, but I’ll wait for a few to be under my belt before that begins. As for this recipe… oh boy was it good! Brined poultry is insanely moist, and the flavors here were wonderful! I also love that this is a recipe you can prepare the night before… and then just stick the chicken in the brine before leaving for work in the morning!
So chicken week one is over and done…. and I really can’t wait for week #2!