Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aarti Paarti Ep. 27: "I Ain't Chicken" Chicken!

What an odd day it's been. I started writing this post about how this recipe celebrated my choice to live bold, about how the phrase had entered my consciousness a couple of years ago, and how it had led, through baby steps like taking improv classes, designing my first original recipe, going to Burning Man for the first time... to finally shooting this little engine-that-could of a show, and finding my purpose in life.

It was, I realise, going to be a bit of a celebration of myself.

But I'm realising that for all the trumpets I have been playing for myself, for all the parades I've thrown myself in my head for being so bold, for all the ways I am grateful for the changes He's worked in me, I have stumbled big time. I have let people down. I have ignored the plight of others because I've been so obsessed with my own. I may have been bold, but only in the pursuit of what made ME happy. When it came to other people, I was chicken.


Sorry guys! Usually, these little show intros are upbeat and funny, but I'm feeling a bit introspective today.

Oooof! Well, let's disband this pity party and focus on the recipe, shall we? WOW!

This is a simplified version of the "I Ain't Chicken" Chicken recipe that I wrote two years ago. It's a milestone of a recipe, because it was the first original recipe I'd ever written.

This version uses just chicken breasts, on the bone, and it's flavoured with cardamom, orange and fresh ginger. It's a fresh, innovative combination I think -- reminiscent of Middle Eastern tea time flavours I think. I love this technique because everyone gets a juicy, flavourful chicken breast and it's done in just 40 minutes! So much quicker than roasting an entire chicken.

Take a look:

"I Ain't Chicken" Chicken
Roasted Crispy-Skin Chicken Breasts with Cardamom-Orange-Ginger Butter

2 big russet potatoes (optional)
2 chicken breasts, on the bone, skin intact, preferably kosher
1 tbsp butter, softened but not melted
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Zest of one large orange
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Handful minced fresh parsley
Salt & pepper

1) Turn oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit/260 degrees celsius, gas mark 10. Grab a broiler tray, and line the bottom with aluminium foil. If you like, slice some potatoes about 1/2" thick, and throw them in there, tossed with a little olive oil and salt. Place slotted tray over the top.

2) Pat chicken dry with some paper towels. Poke a small opening in that clear membrane between the skin and the flesh of the chicken breast. Glide your index finger through the opening, loosening the skin from the flesh, without removing it completely. You're creating a big pocket in which the butter will sit! Repeat with the other chicken breast. Set aside.

3) Wash your hands thoroughly.

4) In a small bowl, combine butter, ground cardamom, orange zest, ginger, parsley, salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt if you're using a kosher chicken. Use more if it's a regular chicken). Stir together with a spoon until well mixed.

5) Place a spoonful of the butter mixture through the opening you made in the skin of the chicken breast. Once it's in there, smooth out the butter by gliding your finger over the skin, until it's evenly distributed. Repeat with the other breast.

6) Place chicken breasts on broiler tray. If you wish, drizzle skin with a little oil, for extra crispy skin. Throw the whole shebang into the oven, and roast for about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Relax, sip a glass of wine, bask in the crackling sounds of butter and comforting smell of roasted chicken on a rainy day!

7) Check the breasts about 30 minutes in, just in case. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone, should register about 160 degrees F when it's cooked. Pull them out at this point, tent with foil and allow to rest about 5 minutes.

7) Using a fork and sharp paring knife, slice breast off the bone, and serve alongside some sauteed spinach and a dollop of Indian shredded mango pickle. Yum!




alanda said...

A lovely recipe and story. Thank you for sharing. Keep being so brave!

mandi said...

Wow! Aarti, this is your best yet! Cute and quirky, loved the four square shots, and the brine text! Question: If you don't brine, should you salt/pepper the skin? Or I think I should ask the opposite...If you DO brine, would you need to salt additionally? I've gotten lately into roasting whole chickens. I want to give this recipe a whirl with the whole bird!

aartilla the fun said...

thanks guys!

mandi -- let's see. yes, if you don't brine then make sure there's a healthy amount of salt in the butter, and after i drizzle the extra oil over the skin, i usually salt and pepper it too. if you want to roast the entire bird, i would recommend butterflying it; less cooking time, and everything cooks evenly. that's actually how i got this technique in the first place: a cook's illustrated recipe for butterflied roasted chicken.

if you're not sure how to butterfly it and don't have a cooks illustrated password, here's a link to a video:

this is

Doris said...

Aarti - I love these videos! I don't cook but I love cooking shows and I can totally see you with your own FN show one day. You wouldn't be like one of those annoying people - like Giada, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. You'd be fun, cute and real! This video was my favorite yet. -Doris

aartilla the fun said...

thanks so much doris! it is the highest compliment that you would watch 'em even if you don't like to cook. that means i'm on the right track! whoopee!

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thexword said...

Wow great video, thanks for sharing this to us! :)


pepper said...

Aartie, you are awesome! Love your Indian touch. Keep us posted!

pepper said...

Aarti, you are aawesome! I love your Indian touch. Keep us posted!

Marsha said...

Every time I make your "I Ain't Chicken, Chicken" recipe it has been a huge success. People have literally said, between the chicken and roasted potatoes they don't know which to put in their mouth next. One of your best. Thank again. Is your cook book out?....I better check. I'd like to know the shrimp dishes you made on the "Iron Chef" challenge you did while in the competition. You are honestly the best!

all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.