Nov 14, 2010

the mutant frog versus the fire

Like a true Saffer, I bought a barbecue.  A thin, light, Chinese-made knock-off of a classic American kettle barbecue.   It's not quite the same though.  Cheap enough to not become attached to it.  Cheap enough to have no reservations about modifying it into  a cold smoker.

Today, though is about the first fire.    And the first sacrifice?  A mutant frog chicken.   The original plan was for a roast, with the body intact.  But £15 only buys 10cm of clearance, so the chicken had to change shape.  Spatchcock came to mind first, but  then I remembered the leaping frog.  Slice the chicken from above the drum, up, through the ribs, to the shoulder.  Repeat on the other side.  Turn the chicken around, with the open cavity on a firm surface, and gently press down.  Maybe a bit harder.  There might be a crunch.  For pretty pictures visit Gourmet

Squeeze two limes* (or more), add a teaspoon of sugar, a generous amount of sweet paprika, oregano, just a hint of cumin and chopped hot chilli.   Take you mortar and pestle lots of garlic.  How much?  I suggest at least as much as your lime juice.  Yes, the final mix is going to be at least 50% garlic.   A few crystals of salt and a drop of olive oil may help it along.  Keep going until it's almost smooth - you want a texture that's that reminds of slightly stiffened  egg white.  Frothy.   Add the paprika  and juice mix.  Taste it - it should be fresh, invigorating, with just a bit of heat.

Salt the chicken, then fondle your marinade into its skin.  Leave a few hours, if you have time.  When your about to light the fire, rush to the store in the dark, on a borrowed bicycle to buy 7kg of charcoal.  I never knew you could transport 7kg on a bike.   Make a fire.  Enjoy it.  Fire.  Fire.  Slow at first, then fast, then slow again.  I might modify the lower ventilation holes?  I should make a list.  And I should stabilise my 15 second exposures.

Scratch the coals open, you don't want real flames, but small tongues are ok.  If you hand can't survive 3 seconds at a sane height, it's not quite ready yet.  I spent the first five minutes on the skin side, lifting when the fire fought too aggressively.  Then turned over, on the bone, for another 40 minutes or so.  Covered,  it is more peaceful that way.

Garlic bread also featured, along with a plain green salad for crunch.  On the first bite I could taste the smoke and fire, taste what I'd been missing.



* One day I'll just do the lime, add some juniper, and a healthy dash of gin.    Put some on the chicken, drink the rest.  Would quinine bark be pushing it too far?  Can you marinate in tonic? 

4 comments:

Marie said...
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Marie said...

:-) Your marinade sounds delicious, why don't I use paprika more often? Lekker.

We had a little roast chicken last night ($12 for a 'poulet rouge' - your chickens are expensive, jeepers!).

But I am tempted to use some of our huge sack of charcoal again tonight after reading this.

jvdh said...

My recent Spanish and Hungarian trips left me with a vast amount of the red stuff, so using it is the obvious thing to do ;-)

And a small correction - £15 gives you a barbecue all the way from the Eastern Land, while a chicken is about four of five. Maybe China is only three chickens away from here?

Marie said...

Oh! That's funny. OK, OK, our chickens cost the same :-)