CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD – BRAZILIAN CHRISTMAS CHICKEN
The central dish of Brazilian Christmas Dinner is typically a “chester,” a special variety of chicken that has been bred to have a high percentage of breast and thigh meat. It is marinated overnight with a blend of spices and a few wet ingredients, and then baked on Christmas Day. Serve the chicken with a delicious side of Christmas Rice (recipe below). This recipe would be great all year round, so why not give it a go before Christmas to make sure you have the technique down pat for the big day.
Brazilian Christmas Roast Chicken
- 1x 1.8-2kg whole chicken
- 1 bunch of parsley leaves about 1/2 cup to a cup
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1.5 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground achiote pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 2 teaspoons of dry oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the Marinade:
Add all ingredients, except for the chicken and the butter to a food processor and pulse to combine.
Place the chicken in a dish and discard the bag with giblets from inside, if any, the cavity and remove any excess fat and leftover feathers.
Pour the marinade over the chicken, and using your hands rub it under the skin and inside the cavity.
Put the chicken and all the marinade inside of a ziplock bag, or bowl, and let it marinate in the fridge for 4 hours, preferably overnight.
About an hour before you intend to roast the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator, discard the marinade, and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Liberally season it with salt and pepper inside the cavity, and under the skin.
Preheat oven 220C.
Place a roasting rack in a baking tray or roasting pan, and place the chicken breast-side up on top of it. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Place the roasting pan in the oven with the chicken legs towards the back of the of the oven.
Roast for 30 mins, then rotate the chicken to now have breasts side towards the back of the of the oven, and reduce the temperature to 200C.
Roast another 30 minutes, and rotate the chicken again to have the chicken legs towards the back of the of the oven, and reduce the temperature to 180c.
Roast about 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of your bird) until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh, or when the internal temperature reaches 80C when inserted in the thigh.
Remove the chicken and let it rest about 20 minutes before carving.
Brazilian Christmas Rice
|1 cup seedless raisins|
|3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil|
|1 onion, chopped|
|2 cloves garlic, minced|
|1 ¾ cups uncooked white rice|
|salt to taste|
|2 cups boiling water|
|1 cup Champagne|
|¾ cup dried apricots|
|1 carrot, peeled and grated|
|1 tablespoon butter|
|6 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes|
- Soak raisins in a bowl of hot water until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in the hot oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in raisins, rice, and salt; cook and stir until rice is coated with oil, about 3 minutes.
- Pour boiling water and Champagne into the saucepan. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Place dried apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; simmer until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Cut into strips.
- Place grated carrot in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Season with salt. Let soak until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in apricot strips and sun-dried tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes.
- Fold apricot strips and sun-dried tomatoes into the cooked rice. Pile rice onto a serving platter; garnish with grated carrot.