Sambal Roasted Chicken

It’s the last day for 2011!  What are you doing?  How are you spending it?  Over here it is much of the same, nothing fancy in the works, although lots of little and big joys are realized and enjoyed.  C is out biking up some mountain, as he has so happily been doing these holiday mornings.  I have gloriously slept in, as I haven’t in a very long time.  I am breakfasting on a simple cheddar cheese toastie slathered with my favorite guava jam, coffee ever present of course.  Little C is playing with her stuffed carabao (water buffalo) – a sighting of a live carabao yesterday has her suddenly in love with the animal.

It will be a relatively simple eve as well.  We are spending the evening with my mum, although C’s mum will be at a party nearby and may pop in for a drink after dinner.  Mum will be roasting a chicken, steaming some green beans, and putting together her prawns and feta pasta.  She also bought a few noise makers for little C(and us as well!).  I’ll be making another one of these cakes (yes, it is truly a favorite in my family) and bringing over some nibbles: chorizo, C’s cheese and spicy sardine dip, dulong(tiny local fish) in olive oil and chili…and I’m thinking of walking over to my neighborhood delicatessen to see what interesting cheeses I might still be able to pick up.  Bottles of wines and cava will soon be a-chilling.  And after midnight it will be time for a bowl of my mum’s potent sopa seca (with bread, not rice or noodles).

I was going to spend this morning, and this blog post, reflecting on the year that was, the humble list of ambitions I set out in January, and how I’ve been able to, more or less, plow through them.  This would have also been the time to put together a new list of, I won’t say resolutions, but directions, for the coming 2012.  But the sun is shining through my window, little C is smelling extra yummy, and there is food to be cooked and enjoyed!

So let me leave you instead, for now, with another roast chicken we enjoyed.

Sambal Roasted Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/3 cup sambal asli
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lemon
  • 1small bunch lemongrass
  • Canola oil (or any other vegetable oil)
  • Sea salt

- Mix sambal asli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, parsley, honey, and the juice from the lemon (keep the lemon halves) in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.  Set a couple of tablespoons of this aside for basting.
- Put a few spoonfuls of the sambal mix into the cavity of the chicken and rub throughout the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemongrass and the leftover lemon halves.  Rub the whole outside of the chicken with the sambal mix generously, getting some in between the skin.  Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
- Place the chicken on a rack in a baking pan.  Pour some water onto the base of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the chicken.  Cover the whole thing with foil and place in a pre-heated 400F oven. 
- Roast the chicken for 40 minutes covered.  Remove the foil and baste the chicken with your reserved sambal mix and a little canola oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.  Roast for 40 minutes to 1 hour more, or until chicken is cooked (when the juices run clear when pierced in the meatiest part), basting with the sambal mix a few more times in between.
- When the chicken is done, let it rest about 10 minutes before carving.

This is another dish born of the lovely sambal asligifted to us by my brother-in-law.  I am quite certain there will be a few more dishes in this same theme down the road so I hope you don’t mind.  We love all things spicy in general, and this sambal asli in particular.  Keep basting the chicken to develop a fierce red-golden crust on it.  I like to sprinkle salt at this point as well because intensely flavored, salty chicken skin is really a big part of the whole point of roast chicken in the first place, in my opinion at least.

I will leave the reflections and resolutions for January.  I will share one with you now though: Enjoy the show.  Whether it be a bone-melting hot shower, a devilishly rich cake, or the sweetest smelling bundle of energy in my life…I will enjoy every moment!  Hard times come, that is for sure, but there is beauty and joy all around for those who take the time to enjoy them.  So I will sign off now to do just that!

Wishing you all the best for the New Year!  See you in 2012!