In 2011, I visited my friend Charmian for the first time. It was a great afternoon filled with fun, food and fantastic talk! My boys had such a lovely time and could not get enough of Charmian’s lovely cilantro chicken dish. And rightly so: this simple roasted chicken literally falls off the bone when cooked and is so rich and deep with the wonderful flavor of cilantro. For those who say cilantro taste like soap, leave now. This dish will not change your mind as I believe it has been proved that if you find the herb soapy, it is, literally, in your genes!
But if you dont, then read on. This is really a terrific way to introduce cilantro to your kiddos. Get them involved now in planting some cilantro seeds and you will have a pot of this lovely, fragrant herb in no time at all!
Many, many thanks to Charmian again for a wonderful afternoon and this really great recipe.
Recipe adapted from Rouxbe.com
1 garlic head
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 whole roasting chicken (6 lbs or 7 pounds)
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock, divided
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Remove one clove of garlic from the head and put it into a food processor or blender. Cut the rest of the head in half and set aside.
Zest the lemon and cut it in half. Juice half the lemon. Put the zest and juice in the food processor and set the unsqueezed half aside.
Put the onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro leaves, oil, ground coriander, honey and salt into a food processor and grind until you have a smooth paste.
Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the half lemon and head of garlic.
Loosen the skin on the chicken’s breast and thighs by gently sliding your fingers between the meat and the skin. Pour or spoon the cilantro paste between the skin and the meat. Use your hands to distribute the paste under the chicken skin as much as you can.
Rub the chicken any remaining cilantro sauce and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, add 3 cups of stock and cook, uncovered, basting every 30 minutes. When basting the chicken, check the color since the sauce will cause the skin to darken quickly. When the skin gets dark, cover the chicken with a lid or tin foil, and continue cooking until done. (1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180°F when inserted into the thigh.)
When the chicken is done, remove the lemon and garlic from inside and let the bird rest, covered. Meanwhile, make a sauce with the pan juices by skimming off the fat and adding 1 cup of stock. Bring the pan juices and stock to a boil right in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed, then strain before serving.
The gorgeous photos of the chicken are taken by the terrific food blogger and photographer Soma Rathore and I am very grateful.