What's fast, exotic, beautiful, and easy? This spatchcocked chicken with three amazing, inspired sauces.

Strapped for time? Make these sauces for pouring over a super-fast chicken.

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These are all takes on traditional Middle Eastern sauces and spices. My kids and I eat a lot of food inspired by the Middle East, because their dishes are fresh, beautiful, and full of wonderful flavors. These sauces are not too exotic — I know these combinations will delight you.

These three sauces turn your chicken and rice menu into a journey. Pack your bags, open the mind, breathe in.

These three sauces turn your chicken and rice menu into a journey. Pack your bags, open the mind, breathe in.

As for the chicken (fast to cook because you've had the butcher spatchcock it), the recipe awaits at the end of this post, because of the turmeric thing we're doing -- oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Patience, my pretties. 

Garlic paste

That's the garlic paste nestled into the EuroCAST double roaster top in the photo above. You will want this, trust me. Time to get epic.

Ingredients

  • 20-25 fresh garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups grape seed oil
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Procedure

  1. In your food processor, pulse the garlic and salt together until it is minced, about 10 seconds
  2. Add 1/2 cup grapeseed oil and pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, Repeat with another 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil. 
  3. With the final 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil, turn on the motor and slowly drizzle it until a relatively smooth paste is formed.
  4. Add in the fresh lemon juice. One final pulse to incorporate.
  5. When done, spoon it into a glass bowl and cover it in the fridge for a few hours before you bring out the chicken. It will mellow in the bowl.

As you’re processing this, it will light your nose hairs on fire.

OK, not really, like, light them on fire. But zing zing zing go the nose hairs. 

Lucky for you, the paste does chill out in the fridge with time, to become the loveliest pale treat on the table. You will be in awe of this simple paste on that juicy chicken. 

Master green sauce

This one is spicy and aromatic and the gorgeous visual foil for the pale beauty of the garlic paste. It is called a "master" for many reasons, which I will not go into here.

You could buy this at your local grocery store (they have something similar at my friend the Trader named Joe), but there’s no need. You can make it in a flash yourself. Then it’s super-fresh.  And — since you’ve already got the food processor out making that pale, beautiful garlic paste — you’re ready to roll.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley. None of that curly stuff. I don’t mind the stalks and stems if you clean them of grit and dry them well.
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 - 3 Serrano peppers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil

Procedure

You know the drill. As Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits might yell, “Second verse, same as the first!”

Whirl that baby up using the procedure much like we used for the garlic paste:

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  1. In your food processor, pulse the ingredients about 10 seconds
  2. Add 1/2 cup grapeseed oil and pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, Repeat with another 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil. 
  3. With the final 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil, turn on the motor and slowly drizzle it. This makes it smooth as silk. 
  4. When done, spoon it into a glass bowl and cover it in the fridge.

Pomegranate salsa

This is beautiful right out of the gate -- but here's a tip.  The tomatoes are delicate once exposed to air, so use within 3 days -- and in between uses, keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator (you can press cling wrap directly onto the sauce to keep all air out) until ready to serve.

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Ingredients

  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes. You want them just firm enough to hold up but ripe in that they are sweet and not pithy.
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Procedure

  1. Pulse the above until just chunky, don’t overdo it here. You're making a salsa, not a smooth sauce. (Hey, variety!)
  2. Remove from the bowl of the processor and pour into a clean glass serving bowl. Add:
  • 2 T. pomegranate molasses (you can find this at Whole Foods, really good delis, and Persian markets — and you should always have it on hand, it will open up your world)
  • 1 T. sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Aleppo flakes
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Stir to incorporate.

Spatchcocked chicken and turmeric marinade

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For the marinade

I love this turmeric marinade on chicken. It's envelopes the chicken in a wonderful, wild color that only the good goddesses could conjure. It’s marigold and umber all in one.

I use this recipe and use just 1/2 for the marinade. The other half I cover immediately and reserve for the table so we can drizzle it on the chicken after it's roasted and presented. 

It is critical that the sauce you set aside for dipping never gets close to your raw chicken. Handle your food well and your food will handle you well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • 15 garlic cloves, asfresh as possible, although I do admit to buying those enormous bags of air blasted cloves from time to time. They are a godsend as time-savers. But. Fresh. Is. Always. Best. (Yes, that’s a bumper sticker on my car.)
  • 3 Tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Procedure

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Yes, yes, y'all! Back to the food processor! 

  1. Throw everything in and pulse it 10-15 times. 
  2. Pour 1/2 into a clean bowl and let it set. 
  3. Place that half on the table with the other lovely sauces upon serving.

The other half? See the chicken recipe below. 

For the chicken

Have your butcher trim the back bone out on both sides, split the sternum and pack it up flat. That’s how you’ll cook it. (This technique is the “spatchcocking”.)

Procedure

The time you have to marinate the chicken is what it is. Adjust as needed.

  1. Salt and pepper the underside of the bird, flip the bird over (see what I did there), and place in your EuroCAST Double Roaster top.
  2. Pour over 1/2 of the turmeric marinade and cover the chicken with cling wrap.
  3. Ideally it will soak in that turmeric treasure for 2-8 hours in the refrigerator. Or, if you are massively whacked for spare time, marinate as long as it takes to pre-heat the oven.  It’ll still be gorgeously marigold in color.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 475F.
  5. Roast that chick for 24-35 minutes, or until juices run clear when you poke them with the tip of a knife or sharp fork. 

If you didn't marinade too long, it's all OK. You’ll be able to amp up the chicken's flavor with the extra sauce you’ve squirreled away from the turmeric recipe.

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BASMATI Jeweled rice

You will love love love this. And it's gorgeous. 

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 white onion, about 1 cup diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (both the leaves and the top of their stems)

In a bowl, assemble: 

  • 1/2 cup sliced dried figs
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced dried apricots

In another bowl, mix together: 

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

In another bowl, assemble:

  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup toasted smashed pistachios

Procedure

In your large EuroCAST Dutch oven, or square sauté pan:

  1. Melt the butter 
  2. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. Sauté the onions until they just begin to turn translucent
  4. Add basmati rice
  5. Add 3 cups water (vegan version), or excellent quality chicken stock and cook until just al dente, 18-20 minutes.
  6. Now that the rice is just al dente (not yet soft), add  1 cup water plus figs, cherries, and apricots
  7. Let this cook together until the rice has softened completely and the dried fruit has been gently steamed by the heat.
  8. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, black pepper, and cumin
  9. Mix well, cover, and let set to wed the flavors. 

Taste for seasonings. You might want a bit more salt, a bit more cinnamon — maybe a little red pepper flake?

Before serving, stir in the almonds and pistachios. Top with cilantro. And, to make it epic, drizzle with a best-quality olive oil or Blak•Label’s hot chili oil. (What's the chili oil all about? Click, baby.)

 

About clean-up

See that photo below? What's special about it? Here's my thought.. 

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You could bring that gorgeous square sauté pan straight to the table. And isn't that double roaster lid a great looking thing for your table? Use EuroCAST-friendly serving tools (wood is my favorite).

You can save cooking time with the spatchcocked chicken, and you can save clean-up time by serving things beautifully on the table right in your EuroCAST. 

Really, you need to stop washing so many dishes. 

Paul WardComment