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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Frango


The Ingredients (for four people):
Vertical roasting rack for Frango Brasiliera
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 140 g (or ½ cup) of salt
  •  2 sprigs of thyme
  • 20 g (or 1 tablespoon) of cracked black peppercorns
  • 30 g (or 1 oz) of garlic squeezed through a garlic press
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 20 g (or 1 tablespoon) of finely ground black pepper
  • 28 g (or 1 oz) of butter
  • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of cooking grade olive oil


The Method:

  1. Peel four garlic cloves and crush them with a small tenderizer or the side of a knife.
  2. Bring to the boil a sufficient volume of water to cover the chicken completely in a bowl, for brining overnight.
  3. Add the salt, thyme, peppercorns, and crushed cloves of garlic to the boiling water, and turn off the heat. Stir until all the salt is dissolved.
  4. Allow the brine solution to cool to room temperature.
  5. Wash the chicken thoroughly and place it in a bowl that accommodates it snugly.
  6. Pour in the cooled brine solution and stir gently to distribute the herbs and seasonings evenly. Press the air out of the chicken's cavity.
  7. Cover the bowl with a fitted lid or an air-tight plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  8. Several hours before roasting the chicken, discard the brine, wipe the chicken skin gently to remove herbs or seasonings, and stand the chicken up on a vertical roasting rack.
  9. Drape the chicken with sufficient length of paper towel to cover all of the skin.
  10. Place the roasting rack with draped chicken into a bowl and set it in the refrigerator to air dry.
  11. When ready to roast the chicken, set the oven to 190°C (or 375°F).
  12. Peel enough cloves of garlic to make 30 g (or 1 oz) when forced through a garlic press. 
  13. Finely chop the leaves from a sprig of rosemary.
  14. Combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, rosemary, and pepper to make a basting mixture.
  15. Remove the chicken, still on its roasting rack, to an oven-proof tray or pan of any kind. (If you have any spare fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or sage, stuff them loosely into the cavity at this step.)
  16. Spread the basting mixture all over the chicken, then place it in the oven.
  17. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting occasionally, and test for doneness, preferably using a digital thermometer inserted in the thigh. When the target temperature is reached, or when the inner thigh is pierced and the liquid that pours out is clear or yellowish, remove the chicken from the oven.


The Story:

"Frango" is the Brazilian name for cooked chicken. However, I do not pretend that this recipe is in any way Brazilian. It's just that the first time I had roast chicken in Brazil--at the home of friends of my parents in the 1990s--was also the first time I had ever seen a vertical roasting rack of the type that is now fairly common in the US. That roast chicken was wonderfully succulent and garlicky. It was brought to the table still on the rack, and everyone cut off their own pieces to eat.
When I returned to the US, I looked everywhere for the vertical roasting rack and one lucky day I found it. This is now the only way I roast chicken. I find that brining lightly helps the moistness, particularly of the breast meat.

Boas lembran├žas, Brasil!






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