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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recipe: Jalapeño Roast Chicken by Marcela Valladolid

Photo by Zack Popovsky

Recipe:  Jalapeño-Roasted Chicken 
by Victoria Challancin

Imagine my delight when friends Beatriz Aceveda and Doug Greiff of  HIP Group Entertainment contacted me earlier this year to be Culinary Producer for Season Two of Marcela Valladolid's Mexican Made Easy for Food Network television. Having first met them in 2003 on the Castaways San Miguel project for Fine Living Channel [you can watch the show here]  , I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them again.   Part of the job description included recipe testing, which is hardly like work to me!  I felt lucky to be able to play in the kitchen and recreate some of Marcela's oh-so-tasty dishes.  Some of the recipes were new, a few others came from Marcela's cookbook Fresh Mexico, including this gorgeous roast chicken.  

When I looked over the recipe, I was a bit alarmed at the amount of oregano it called for, knowing the potency of the herb.  I actually asked Marce if it was a typo!  How embarrassing--I should have known better.  I made the recipe exactly as given in her book, using 1/3 cup of dried oregano, and the result was simply dazzling.  This is a terrific recipe showcasing common Mexican ingredients to make an updated version of roast chicken.  And let's face it, you can NEVER have too many recipes for roast chicken!

Marcela's book is available in both English and Spanish versions here.

Jalapeño Roasted Chicken with Baby

Jalapeño paste:
·       1/2 cup packed fresh oregano leaves or 1/3 cup dried oregano
·       1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
·       garlic cloves, peeled
·       4 tablespoons unsalted butter
·       2 tablespoons olive oil
·       1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
·       1 teaspoon salt
·       1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
·       1 (5 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
·       2 sprigs fresh rosemary
·       2 shallots, coarsely chopped
·       1 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
·       3/4 cup dry white wine
·       2 pounds baby broccoli *see Cook's Note
·       1 tablespoon olive oil
·       Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
·       Special equipment: 1 roasting pan with rack.


Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Jalapeno paste:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the oregano, shallot, garlic, butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the jalapeno, salt and pepper and process to form a coarse paste.
Chicken: Pat the chicken dry and then put it, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breast, legs, and thighs without detaching it. Spread half of the jalapeño paste under the skin. Put the rosemary and the shallots in the cavity of the chicken. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Spread the remaining jalapeño paste all over the exterior of the chicken. Pour the chicken broth and wine into the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes, adding more broth to the pan if it begins to dry out.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Arrange the baby broccoli snugly around the chicken on the rack. Drizzle the olive oil over the florets and season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast the chicken with the baby broccoli, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the chicken thigh, without touching the bone, registers 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Remove the roast chicken from the oven, tent it in foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a platter, and surround it with the broccoli. Serve.

Baby broccoli is also known as broccolini. Dont confuse it with broccoli rabe. If you cant find baby broccoli, use 2 pounds of regular broccoli heads; quarter them by slicing through the stem and florets so that each piece has some stem attached.

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