Cooking, I believe, is my therapy. It gives me a chance to de-stress and relax. It gives me chance to explore my creative side. And it gives me a welcome break from the stress that the corporate world brings. I’ve been working on my thesis for grad school for several days now (and I’m not even half-way through! Aargh!). And now, I need a break. Lest, I’d be facing major burnout.
One thing I have been thinking of for quite some time is how to create another version of roast chicken. I have been most proud of my “Thanksgiving Chicken” , which is an adaptation of Martha Stewart’s brined turkey (I have to post this recipe one of these days). I’ve also enjoyed making Chicken Inasal at Home. My friends and relatives have always loved pineapple-orange roast chicken. So where do I go from here?
Zubuchon gave me an idea.
Zubuchon, the lechon cebu brand which Anthony Bourdain now swears as the best pig he has ever tasted on the planet (I am somehow inclined to agree with this), now sells pork lard. So why not use it to baste chicken? A friend of mine bought a small container for me at the Mactan International Airport for just 50 pesos.
The result: I created roast chicken with a chorizo and apricot stuffing. I used Zubuchon’s pork lard and basted the chicken with it to enhance the flavor of the chicken. It also made the skin crispy. Putting butter under the skin also made the chicken very moist and juicy.
For the stuffing: I’ve discovered that chorizo, apricots, and marble potatoes are a great complement to the chicken. The chorizo adds salty, crunchy textures, while the potatoes add chunk. The dried apricots contribute a sweet taste that blends well with everything. The chicken (and lard) drippings also bring out a greater flavor for the stuffing.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH CHORIZO AND APRICOT STUFFING
- 1 whole chicken
- Garlic, 1/2 cup, diced
- Fresh oregano, 1/2 to 3/4 cup
- Chorizo de Bilbao (I use Purefoods’ canned chorizo. I like it’s taste. It’s also reasonably-priced, and has good shelf life)
- Marble potatoes, 2 cups
- Dried Apricots, 1 cup
- Pork Lard (As I mentioned, I used Zubuchon’s pork lard)
- I first made small incisions onto the different parts of the chicken. Underneath the skin, spread oregano, butter, and half of the garlic.
- On the skin: Rub with salt. Then rub the chicken with lard. Then rub with pepper. Set aside. If you don’t have pork lard, well, you won’t go wrong with a mixture of butter and olive oil.
- For the stuffing: In a bowl, combine the chopped chorizo, dried apricots, potatoes, and the remaining garlic. I chopped the marble potatoes into small wedges. To maximize the flavor of the stuffing, I also mixed in the lard/oil from the canned chorizo de Bilbao (Yum!).
- Stuff the chicken and place on your roasting pan. I had extra stuffing. What I did was to spread the stuffing onto the pan. Then I placed the chicken on top, breast down.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, temporarily take the chicken out of the oven to invert it. Roast for another 20 minutes, breast up. –> Note: I actually used a turbo broiler. I put it on broil mode for the first 10 minutes (it’s on broil mode at 250 degrees centigrade), to brown the bottom of the chicken, and then went into bake mode by bringing the temp down to 175-200 degrees for the next 10 minutes. You don’t want to broil the whole time for it will burn the chicken fast without really cooking it thoroughly. Once you have the chicken breast up, put it on 175 degrees for 30 minutes. And then, put it on broil mode for the last 10 minutes to make the skin crispy.
- To maximize flavor of the chicken as well as ensure a crispy skin, baste every 5 to 20 minutes with the drippings. I used a turkey baster to get the drippings.
Serves 4 people. Or serves 3 in my case — me plus a very hungry mom and brother. Hahaha! It’s not exactly the healthiest dish in the world. But you just have to give in to the wonders of lard from time to time. Enjoy!