Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chicken cooked to buggery.

Some name!, you might be thinking, but read on. This is a lesser known recipe from the Australian gastro supremo Tetsuya Wakuda, he of the slow cooked confit of ocean trout and sublime degustation.

But first some translation notes for the Australian idiom. Rather than necessarily referring to sexual mores, this word in the Aussie vernacular has a few other meanings. It can mean ‘considerably’ (as in: it hurts like buggery); ‘go away, leave me alone’ (as in: go to buggery); and ‘greatly off course, in error, astray’ (as in: off to buggery).

This is one of Tets’s personal ‘at home’ recipes, published many years ago in the SMH’s Good Weekend Magazine. The story goes that he forgot the dish was cooking in the oven, but despite the well-browned result, it was still delicious, moist and tender. Hence the name, conferred on it by his dinner guests. It’s become one of my favourite recipes and I’ve cooked it many times with many flavour variations. It is also incredibly simple to whip up.

So for the non-Aus reader, armed with your translation notes, I’m sure you get the picture. As long as there’s liquid remaining in the dish and you are prepared to baste it a bit, you’ll always get a luscious result. So contrary to some suggestions of the name, no …um, chickens were …er, ‘harmed’ in the preparation of this recipe.

2 small chickens/ spatchcock/ poussin split in half
1 bottle (700/750 mls) of dry white wine
2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained
20 black olives, pitted (cut in half if you prefer)
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
A few tablespoons of fresh herb (the recipe calls for oregano, but I’ve also used marjoram, French Tarragon, sage and rosemary to great effect. Not mixed, one or the other)
100 mls olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the chicken halves into a baking dish skin side up. Pour over wine until the liquid reaches half way up the side of the birds. Add water if you don’t have enough wine to get up to this level. Scatter over the capers, olives, garlic and herbs, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the oil. Cook for 60 – 80 minutes and baste a few times with the liquid, until the skin is dark golden brown. Serve with some of the olives, capers and herbs scattered over and garnish with parsley and some of the juices.

For a delectable leftover, reserve and reheat the pan juices (there should be quite a lot remaining) and any leftover chicken. Add 1-2 tbsp of crème fraîche and stir through hot pasta, adding extra olives, capers and herbs if needed.


Blogger neil said...

Loved your lesson on Australian vernacular, that word buggery can lead to a few probems overseas ;-). One time a few friends and I got into a card game or was it a drinking game? Anyway one of us was roasting a chicken and forgot about it for a few hours. When he remembered and took it out, it was just fine.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Woah...that looks awesome thanks for the recipe, I'll be trying that one out.
Have you seen (or tried) any recipes for Salivating Chicken....I had it a couple of times in Hong Kong and it was amazing...also a beautiful chicken dish at famous Sichuan 'speakeasy' Xi Yan in Wan Chai.....super spicy with thousand year eggs on the side.....yum

8:56 PM  
Blogger Reb said...

The old chook's a pretty resilient being 'Taco!

Thanks Dave - it is pretty good! The others you mention sound great too, but I haven't tried them. Let me know if you find some recipes!

10:45 AM  

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