Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cook that Chicken Like a King

Chicken is the ubiquitous food of our era, crossing multiple cultural boundaries with ease. With its mild taste dinner, chicken remains a nostalgic, evocative dish for most Americans. When author Jack Canfield was looking for a metaphor for psychological comfort, he didn’t call it “Clam Chowder for the Soul.”

and uniform texture, chicken presents an intriguingly blank canvas for the flavor palette of almost any cuisine. A generation of Britons is coming of age in the belief that chicken tikka masala is the national dish, and the same thing is happening in China with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long after the time when most families had a few hens running around the yard that could be grabbed and turned into

How did the chicken achieve such cultural and culinary dominance? It is all the more surprising in light of the belief by many archaeologists that chickens were first domesticated not for eating but for cockfighting. Until the advent of large-scale industrial production in the 20th century, the economic and nutritional contribution of chickens was modest. In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond listed chickens among the “small domestic mammals and domestic birds and insects” that have been useful to humanity but unlike the horse or the ox did little—outside of legends—to change the course of history. Nonetheless, the chicken has inspired contributions to culture, art, cuisine, science and religion over the millennia. Chickens were, and still are, a sacred animal in some cultures. The prodigious and ever-watchful hen was a worldwide symbol of nurturance and fertility. Eggs hung in Egyptian temples to ensure a bountiful river flood. The lusty rooster (a.k.a. cock) was a universal signifier of virility—but also, in the ancient Persian faith of Zoroastrianism, a benign spirit that crowed at dawn to herald a turning point in the cosmic struggle between darkness and light. For the Romans, the chicken’s killer app was fortunetelling, especially during wartime. Chickens accompanied Roman armies, and their behavior was carefully observed before battle; a good appetite meant victory was likely. According to the writings of Cicero, when one contingent of birds refused to eat before a sea battle in 249 B.C., an angry consul threw them overboard. History records that he was defeated.

BBQ Chicken


8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone-in and skin on
1 whole bulb of garlic
2 lemons sea salt and ground black pepper
olive oil
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1.In a big rectangular pan lined with tin foil, arrange the chicken with the bulb of garlic in the middle, and 1 lemon cut in half. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Cover chicken with tinfoil (like a package) and bake in preheated oven (350ºF) for 35 minutes or until chicken falls off bone. 

2.When done, take chicken out of oven and carefully take it off the tinfoil and put on preheated grill. 

3.As soon as your chicken is on the BBQ, make your sauce. Use the roasted garlic and squeeze each clove into a bowl. Squeeze in lemon juice from the roasted lemon, add some more salt and pepper and olive oil and mix until you have a nice paste. Juice the other lemon, and add the rosemary. Baste the chicken with the sauce for about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and serve!

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