Saturday, January 17, 2015
Endless chicken dishes, in this house. We eat little red meat at home - partly a budget thing, partly an availability thing. There is no organic or grassfed raise beef nearby. We can find humanely raised poultry.
So here's a one-dish wonder. Strong flavours. Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they add salty complexity. There is nothing fishy about this and they will be undetectable to anchovy-haters.
Serves Four, or two hungry persons, with leftovers
1 head garlic, cloves all chopped finely
1 bunch cilantro (coriander), well washed, stems chopped finely
6 anchovy fillets, chopped finely
Zest of 1/2 a lime
2 large limes' juice (approx. 3-4 Tbsps)
1 Tbsp Halaby pepper (also called Aleppo red pepepr, otherwise use dried or fresh chiles)
Heat oven to 450'F/220'C.
Here's the fun part: Whop each piece of chicken in half with a big kitchen knife or cleaver. Pick out any small bone shards (the harder you whop the fewer there'll be. Really. Lift the knife above your head and aim well. Visualize the knife where you want it to land...Whop!).
You can skip that step if you're in no mood for fun. But the idea is that the more exposed surfaces you have, the more flavour sticks to them.
Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl.
Add the chopped garlic, cilantro stems, anchovies, the lime juice, the zest and the pepper. Toss very well.
Transfer to a roasting dish or skillet with low sides (it should accommodate the chicken pieces in a single layer with a little space between each).
Roast for 1 hour to 1 hr 25-ish, depending on how brown the bits become. Turn the pieces after about 40 minutes. If the liquid in the pan is drying add a splash of water every now and then. You want delectable stickiness when done, not soup.
While the chicken is cooking chop the cilantro leaves very finely. Pu the leaves in a small bowl and add the juice of a lime, a large pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and stir very well. Serve this as fresh green sauce.
I served this with some steamed couscous.