We eat a lot of chicken here at Chez Good Appetite & I think cooking a whole chicken has to be one of our favorite things whether its roasted in the oven or on the grill. So, when Matt decided he wanted to cook something from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday (Recipes Featured on Season 4 of the PBS-TV series "Mexico One Plate at a Time") this week he was immediately drawn to this Grilled Roadside Whole Chicken.
According to the book the marinade used on this chicken is Sinaloa-style & popular at roadside stands throughout all of Mexico. Its really a wonderful blend of spice, dry chile & apple cider vinegar. I loved the way the flavor of the cloves & cinnamon came through in taste & smell. The chicken is spatchcocked (go here for our tutorial on spatchcocking) which allows for it to cook evenly & remain really juicy. I'm not a big salsa fan but tomatillo salsa was a perfect flavor accompaniment with the chicken.
Our only little gripe with this recipe is that the marinade is only put on right before & during cooking so, most of the flavor is on the skin & hasn't really made it into the meat. It does make the skin delicious but we all know that the skin isn't the healthiest bit to be eating. We think next time we may let the chicken sit in some of the marinade for awhile before actually putting it on the grill.
In the book, the chicken is served with grilled knob onions which are basically large scallions. We used a mixer of white & purple scallions. They are lightly oiled & salted then grilled during the last ten minutes of cooking the chicken. Their flavor was so wonderfully mellow & sweet. There's really nothing like a grilled onion.
We also served black beans & Matt's Cumin Flavored Rice. The rice is a take on the Spanish Rice we are used to getting in burritos in San Francisco. We made a lot of rice & a whole can of beans in order to turn the leftovers into a Mexican Rice Salad for lunch another day.
Grilled Roadside Whole Chicken
1 1/2 T ground ancho chile powder
1 t dried oregano
a big pinch of ground cloves (I did a really big pinch)
1/4 t ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
3 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 c orange juice
1 t salt
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
3 lb chicken
Spatchcock the chicken so it lays flat. Smear both sides of it with the marinade. Cook over medium (350F), indirect heat on the grill with out turning. Bast from time to time with remaining marinade. The chicken is done when a thermometer in the thigh registers 160 F, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, tent with some tin foil & allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with tomatillo salsa
Matt's Cumin Flavored Rice
1 1/2 c brown rice
1/4 t cumin
1 T tomato paste
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
3 c water
Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the rice & all other ingredients. Cover & reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook until all the water is absorbed about 45 minutes.
Throw all the ingredients into a rice steamer & cook until the water is absorbed.
Makes 6 servings