As I've mentioned before I've been absolutely entranced by the ceramic chicken cooker from Early Morning Pottery that Paula Wolfert gave us as an anniversary present last year.
It took me awhile to get around to using it, but I have really been working that thing of late. It might not be the most dignified way to cook a bird but it always turns out just the way I want it. Can't knock that.
Last week I picked up a whole bird and was thinking of roasting it tandoori style on my little ceramic cone. Well, one thing led to another, we're just finishing a script and there was a little bit of confusion about telling Wednesday from Friday and bang..suddenly it was Sunday and I'd not marinated my bird. What to do? A Rub.
Rubs are great. I mean who doesn't like a massage? If you're a fowl about to be roasted there are worse and far more unhealthy ways to go.
Rubs can be any combination of spices massaged into the meat and left to marinate. Sometimes I top a rub by drizzling chicken breasts or quail with olive oil before cooking. I do the same with other meats or fish. Most of the time I remove the skin before rubbing but in the case of this whole bird, I didn't.
The recipe for this rub is very easy. It only contains three spices, and I originally found it on Epicurious's website years ago and have been using ever since.
1.) 1/2 tsp allspice
2.) 1/2 tsp of cayenne
3.) 1 tsp of salt
black pepper to taste
That's it. Of course you'll need to mix up a larger batch of this rub to cover a whole bird. I usually make up a fairly large amount and keep it in a jar in my larder..for whatever I want to give a spicy rubdown to.
What did I do to get this lovely color? I rinsed and dried the chicken inside and out. Rubbed the cavity and the outside with the dry rub mix then took a lemon, stuck it all over with a fork so the juices would release and uh.....inserted it in the chicken, where the moon don't shine.
After that I mounted him on his little ceramic throne and squeezed the juice of half a lemon over him.
The ceramic throne went into a baking dish with about an inch of water in it and then into a 400 degree preheated oven for about 1 hour and small change.
It was wonderful. The chicken was golden and smoky with spices. Served with a Gujarati carrot salad, some curried small potatoes with eggplant and a raita with boondi...we had a feast.
One of these days I am going to try this tandoor style, but for now I highly recommend it as a lovely,quick and easy early fall lunch or dinner.