This is a great recipe from Ruth Reichl’s terrific book My Kitchen Year. You can quarter a whole chicken or use chicken pieces. This takes some preparation – for a same-day dinner, make the oil early in the day and marinate the chicken in the early afternoon. Or, even better, do it all the day before.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Make sure the paprika does not contain colour or anti-caking ingredients.
Make the chili oil
Place strained chili oil and lemon slices in bag with chicken and marinate for at least four hours
Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry and sprinkle with pepper before browning and baking
1 chicken, quartered
2 large jalapeno chiles
2 serrano chiles
¾ cup (180 ml) plus 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 ml) hot paprika
Make chile oil by chopping the jalapeno and serrano chiles, and putting them in a small saucepan with ¾ cup (180 ml) of olive oil. Add the hot paprika. Grind a fair amount of black pepper into the pot and steep over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Let it sit overnight (or all day). If you prefer not to make the oil, you can simply buy a bottle of chile oil.
Put a strainer over a large bowl and strain the chile oil. Slice a couple of lemons and add them to the bowl. Season with salt.
Place chicken in resealable bag and pour in the oil and lemon mixture. Move chicken around to make sure all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to a day).
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (260 C). When the oven is ready, heat a cast iron skillet until it’s quite hot and smoking. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the chile oil and pat it dry. Sprinkle it with salt and shower it with freshly ground pepper; you need a lot. Slick the bottom of the pan with olive oil and put the chicken, skin side down, in the hot skillet. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden, which should take 5-10 minutes. Turn the chicken over so it’s skin-side up.
Put the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 30 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees F (76 C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, grind more pepper over the chicken and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
From My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life is Ruth Reichl’s memoir about the year after her beloved Gourmet magazine abruptly ceased publication. Set mostly in her country house, Reichl mourns her loss, ponders her future — and cooks. In the book, Reichl makes these Americanized Thai noodles during the winter, but they are delicious at any time of year.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Look for a brand of fish sauce without MSG and shrimp without preservatives added. I used Tabasco sauce instead of sriracha.
Cook shrimp until they change colour
Stir fry scallions with ground pork
Add soaked rice noodles
Add sauce and combine
Thai American Noodles
½ pound (250 g) very thin rice noodles, preferably Thai rice sticks
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) fish sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) white vinegar (or unseasoned rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut oil
½ pound (250 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound (250 g) ground pork
4 scallions, white and tender green parts, sliced into ½ -inch (1.27 cm) lengths
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 limes (juice only)
½ cup (125 ml) salted peanuts, finely chopped
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish
Sriracha Chili sauce
In a large bowl, soak the noodles in hot water to cover for about 20 minutes or until soft, then drain and set aside.
Combine the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Set aside.
In a wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, just until they change color, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the garlic to the wok, and as soon as it starts to color and get fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the pork and half of the scallions. Cook just until the pork loses its redness, 2 to 3 minutes, then add drained noodles and mix quickly. Add the fish sauce mixture, reduce the heat to medium and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until the noodles have absorbed all the liquid.
Clear an area of the wok and crack 1 egg into it, breaking the yolk. Tilt the wok to get as thin a sheet of egg as possible and scramble just until set, about 1 minute. Then mix the egg into the noodles. Repeat with the remaining egg. Add the shrimp, remaining scallions and red pepper flakes and mix thoroughly. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Transfer the noodles to a platter and top with a sprinkling of peanuts. Serve with lime wedges, the remaining peanuts and lots of Sriracha. Serves 3.
From My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl