Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cooking Floyd: Trencherman Thai

When I was cooking at the Valiant Trencherman one of my favorite dishes on the menu was Thai chicken.  Spicy hot with a little sweet, I never tired of it and twenty years later I still make it at home.
In fact, I'm so enamored of the flavor of the marinating paste that I'm tempted to try drying and powdering it just to see what happens!

Combine 6 dried and seeded chilis, 4 slices of onion, 3 thick rings of any color bell pepper, 2/3 of a head of garlic, 2 tablespoons of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of salt, a 1 inch piece of ginger the diameter of your thumb chopped, and the juice and zest of 2 lemons in a food processor.  Process until everything combines into a smooth paste.
This makes a lot of paste!  Enough to marinate several chickens.  You can cut the recipe in half or put half the paste in a baggie and freeze for another time.

Next, place skinless chicken in a plastic bag, cover with the paste and zip the bag shut.  Rub the paste all over the chicken giving it a good massage and allow to marinate at least an hour.  I like to give it several hours or overnight.  And did I mention it's a good idea to wear an apron or an old shirt?  Because the paste will stain anything it touches a pretty golden color that will be with you forever and ultimately not in a good way.  Thus massaging the chicken through the plastic bag.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  I used chicken thighs this time and after they had marinated, I placed them in a single layer in a roasting pan and poured the marinade over top.  On top of that went chunks from half of a freshly cut pineapple along with the juice.  You can use canned pineapple chunks as well but try to use pineapple canned in water or it's own juice instead of syrup since you will be adding sugar later. Finally I sprinkled it with a little of my own home-grown and smoked paprika.  I covered the pan tightly with foil and baked it for an hour.
Depending on the size of your chicken pieces the baking time could be more or less than an hour.  If you have a thermometer aim for an interior temperature of 165F.  If you don't, poke a piece to the center of the thickest part and if the juices run clear it's done.  Better yet, cut a thick piece open and look.

While the chicken baked I toasted a cup of coarse bulgher in a dry iron skillet, poured it into a heatproof bowl, stirred in 2 cups of boiling water and allowed it to sit and absorb the water.  Rice would be the more traditional grain to serve with the chicken but rice and I don't play well together.

When the chicken was done, I removed it to a platter.

Skim any fat off the pan juices.  I like to have a lot of sauce so I often add a cup of chicken stock to the pan.  Bring the juices to a rapid simmer and stir in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of vinegar.  While the pan juices are returning to a rapid simmer mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with just enough water to make a loose slurry.  Stir this slurry into the simmering pan juices a bit at a time until the sauce is as thick as you like it.

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to reheat a little, spooning the sauce over the top of the pieces.

To go alongside the chicken I made an Asian-inspired slaw of chopped Napa cabbage, fennel fronds, sliced scallions, julienned carrots, seeded and chopped cucumbers, dried cranberries, roasted cashews and black sesame seeds dressed with a vinaigrette of 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, and 1/4 cup sesame oil.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the most authentic recipe for Thai chicken out there but it is easy and tasty and makes a very satisfying supper!

1 comment:

  1. drool drool and more drool. Wow that looks and sounds wonderful. I don't think I would tire of it either.