xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' The Perfect Caribbean Roast Chicken Recipe

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Perfect Caribbean Roast Chicken Recipe

As we approach the second month of 2016, and as the snow melts on the ground, I am left to wonder how may of us have stuck to our resolutions. My basic resolutions do not differ much from year to year, the same old, keep the house and refrigerator organized, lose weight, become a more understanding wife, a more patient mother and a more forgiving, compassionate and tolerant human being.

As if I did not gain enough weight over the holidays, starting November(Thanksgiving), snowstorms and frigid temps beg for comfort food and decadent desserts which makes losing weight difficult. The strangest thing happens to me when I am gaining weight. During that time, I don't see it. As a matter of fact I always feel thinner during that time. Then one day, I get a glimpse of my "real" self in a shop window or photo and I exclaim to my husband, ' OMG I'm fat**"! I gained so much weight! Why didn't you tell me? You are never honest with me! It's your fault!" Blaming Dah makes me feel a whole lot better. Then I continue, "You exercise everyday, why can't you design a workout routine for me". You don't want me to be thin! You are not supportive enough"! Really folks, I have no control over my madness. I eventually come to my senses and take full responsibility for my excess weight. As I said, I am trying to be a better wife. I am fortunate that he has stayed with me for 24 years! Cooking for him is how I compensate for my darker side. Now you know the truth.

[**"Fat", in my definition, is that point when my clothes no longer fit comfortably in a size 4/6, walking and running up and down stairs require effort and leaves me breathless, my self-esteem plummets, I feel lethargic and I become easily exhausted.]

Aside from the weight, for the past 6 months I have experienced a "cleansing of sorts". I eliminated enormous amounts of clutter and donated every piece of furniture in my living room and kitchen. I redecorated to make my living space more mature, serene and sophisticated. A look to match the inner transformation I have been experiencing(still ongoing).

Forty-two feels amazing but it's a very busy time emotionally. I am in control of the external clutter, but now I am focused on "undoing" all the baggage I have accumulated emotionally, and at the same time, not accumulating any additional. I believe in order to continue to enjoy life going into my later 40's, 50's and beyond I need a new frame of mind, a totally positive outlook, peaceful surroundings, select friends and a simpler way of living. For the record, good health and money are also necessary. As you can see, as I have become older, I no longer allow life to happen to me, I happen to life. I create the life I want and deserve and I work hard at it.

Not many people can say that they have found their purpose in life, but I have in the past five years. My purpose it to know God and in simple terms, be the best Ria I can be. This is my pathway to peace and happiness. This blog is just a tiny speck of who I am and I am happy to share it with you. If you don't learn from my personal experiences, you will definitely learn to cook!

I have already shared the secret to Caribbean and Trini cooking here. Green Seasoning can and will make your life easier and your meals tastier and I would like to demonstrate that in today's recipe post. We roast a chicken every Sunday in our house to pack for lunch for a few days and this recipe is one of my favorites.  We never get tired of it. It's so simple, even the husband (Dah) can do it. When it's done, he always brings a piece to me, wherever I am in the house(usually my bed), just to make sure that it is "perfect'. Aye Caramba.

In this recipe,  a whole chicken is butterflied(my way), washed and rinsed and seasoned with only four ingredients--green seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I promise you that you will not experience anything more heavenly, delicious, economical, healthful and satisfying. If you are just learning to cook, and if you don't learn any new recipes this year, I urge you to make this. Learning is actually the simple part since this is the simplest roast chicken you will ever make. It basically cooks on its own with no fussing over it or basting required.

I highly recommend marinating it for a few days, but there are many days I season and place it straight in the oven. Leftovers become even more delicious as the days go by. It is important to let the chicken come to room temp before roasting. You may also leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a day or two, which dries the skin and helps it to become crisp during roasting.

Traditionally, a chicken is butterflied (spatchcocked) by cutting out the back and flattening it. However, I prefer to cut down the opposite side (breast). In my opinion the wings protect the breast from drying out. The decision is yours. Whichever way you cut, it simplifies roasting and I like the result compared to roasting a whole chicken. The breast and legs are done at the same time, while if you cooked a whole bird, you may have to turn to ensure even cooking.

The Perfect Caribbean Roast Chicken

One 4-pound chicken
1/2 cup Green Seasoning
1 large lemon, halved
1 tablespoon Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons extra-vigin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. You will also need a narrow roasting pan.

Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Wash the chicken with the  juice of 1/2 a lemon--you may rub it with the lemon to remove any freshness. Rinse with several changes of water. Drain and pat dry. Place the chicken back-side down and cut the chicken down the entire length of the breast line. Place the chicken breast side up on a flat surface and and press with the palms of your hands to flatten.

Place the breast side down and generously season with salt and pepper. Rub in green seasoning and squeeze a bit of the juice from the lemon over the area.

Turn the chicken breast side up and repeat the same process--salt, pepper, green season and lemon juice.

If you plan to roast immediately, drizzle with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and place in a preheated oven.

If you are marinating, place the chicken in a zip lock or other cooking bag and marinate in the refrigerator 3-4 days or less. As I mentioned above, it is important to let the chicken come to room temp before roasting. You may also leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a day or two, which dries the skin and helps it to become crisp during roasting.

Roast @ 350 degrees fahrenheit until the chicken skin is nicely brown and juices run clear. It takes about  75-90 minutes in my oven. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Once it is out of the oven, transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil or parchment paper and let it rest for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Cut into pieces.

I gently and swiftly press a paper towel over the sauce in the roasting pan to absorb any oil, leaving only the sauce which can be spooned over freshly steamed jasmine rice to be served along with the chicken.

You may also serve with rice and stewed red beans, fried rice, mashed potatoes, green beans, potato salad, roasted potatoes or a green salad.

Until next time,
Eat. Pray. Love,

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