Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our Chicken Inasal Meal



Before I completely say goodbye to February, let me sneak in one itty-bitty post about my favorite chicken inasal recipe. My brother grew to liking Claude's ready-made inasal marinade, because it makes for perfect tasting chicken inasal without the added hassle of actually chopping up and throwing together the ingredients for the marinade. But on days when he runs out of these bottles on stock and we get a hankering for chicken inasal, this is the recipe we turn to. (I learned to make annatto oil from this recipe. I do realize that that "skill" really isn't such a big deal, but I am just really really amused I learned it.)

This recipe, from bigoven.com, calls for chicken pieces. But if you feel like grilling the chicken whole, hey, nobody's stopping you. I suggest splitting the chicken in half and grilling it flat though, if you do not have a rotisserie handy. Aside from helping the chicken cook evenly, this orientation results in a stunner of a chicken.  Good enough as a centerpiece for a special meal, I must say.

Chicken Inasal

Ingredients
2 Chickens (free range if available)
3/4 cup Filipino vinegar
Salt
1/4 cup garlic, finely minced
2 stalks lemon grass, optional
Annatto oil, (see notes below)
Wooden skewers
Spiced vinegar

Chicken Inasal Preparation

Additional Ingredient Instructions:
2 free-range chickens, approx. 3 pounds each, or if you can find smaller chickens, use 3 of them

3/4 cup Filipino vinegar, palm if you can find it, or cane; or if you must, the equivalent in kalamansi juice (available in the frozen aisle of your Asian market if you don't have access to fresh)

1/4 cup garlic, minced very finely, or better yet, mashed into a paste with 2 teaspoons sea salt

achuete or annatto oil, made by steeping 1/4 cup annatto seeds in 1/2 cup hot oil for half an hour (If not available, you may mix a small amount of paprika and tumeric to achieve the same color.)

thick wooden skewers, soaked for 1 hour in water prior to cooking

Bottled spiced vinegar for serving, or make your own by mixing Filipino vinegar, lots of crushed garlic, a bit of salt, and a handful of Thai peppers or other tiny red hot peppers

x x x

Quarter the chickens, or if using the small ones, halve them. Marinate in the vinegar, garlic and salt, several hours or overnight, turning several times.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Make sure your grill is cleaned and oiled well. Cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes, basting with the achuete oil. Turn and cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until thickest parts of chicken exude clear juices when pierced. Can also be made in a grill pan on the stove if no outside barbecue is available.

Serve immediately with the spiced vinegar. Other welcome additions to the vinegar: some soy sauce or fish sauce if you like, or even some minced ginger.

See the full version of this recipe with all the notes made by the author at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/163721/chicken-inasal
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