Uncle Boon's Thai Roast Chicken
- ACTIVE: 40 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 4 HRS 30 MIN plus 8 hr brining
- SERVINGS: 2 to 4
At Uncle Boon’s in Manhattan, chef Matt Danzer cooks chickens in a giant rotisserie oven, but the birds are equally delicious roasted on a rack in a home oven. Here’s what makes them so good: They’re brined, then rubbed with a combination of coconut cream and kaffir lime before roasting, yielding golden, crackly skin.
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- 1/3 cup granulated coconut palm sugar or brown sugar, like Sugar in the Raw
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 10 kaffir lime leaves (see Note)
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- One 3-pound chicken
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (see Note)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan, toast the coriander seeds and black peppercorns over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until they are fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the spices cool slightly. Add the water, palm sugar, fish sauce, garlic, 8 of the kaffir lime leaves and the 1/4 cup of salt to the saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and let the brine cool completely. Add the chicken to the brine, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Set a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Put the chicken on the rack and refrigerate it, uncovered, for 2 hours to dry out the skin.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the coconut cream with the remaining 2 kaffir lime leaves until the mixture has green flakes. Rub the chicken all over with the coconut cream and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and roast for about 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165°. Transfer the chicken to a board and let rest for 10 minutes, then carve the chicken and serve.
This roasted chicken needs a wine that can match the richness of the coconut cream and the brightness of the kaffir lime leaves, like full-bodied, off-dry Riesling.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.