One of my favorite Zesties wants to break free of traditional flavors to go Thai. I often find that home cooks are willing to try something new, but convincing the rest of the family is tricky.
When you serve something unfamiliar, the kids and better half may turn up their noses before they even take a bite. So if you’re going to try something new, start with something old.
This Zestie happens to be my cousin. Being from the South, our family loves buttermilk chicken and mashed potatoes. So forget East meets West. This Thai Roasted Chicken is East meets South.
Instead of using traditional buttermilk, this whole chicken is marinated in coconut milk. I’ve also added other Thai flavors – basil and lime. These are all flavors that are subtle and familiar to unassuming palates.
You can marinade the chicken the night before, or you can pop it in the brine on your way to work and roast it when you get home.
The spice rub is simple, just salt and pepper with some smoked paprika for color. If you think your family can handle it, you can sprinkle on some curry powder. It has spices like coriander, turmeric and cumin, which may be too bold for your first dinner outside of the box, but once they warm up to new ideas, sprinkle away.
While the bird is roasting, you can work on the mashed potatoes. For the added health benefit, I boil 3 white potatoes and 1 sweet potato. And again, instead of milk, I stirred in the rest of the can of coconut milk and some chicken broth. If you steep some basil and pepper in the broth before adding the cooked potatoes, the potatoes will carry the same flavors as the chicken, tying everything together.
When the chicken comes out of the oven, the skin will be nice and crisp and the meat will be very tender and juicy. Squeeze lime juice over the bird for an added hint of freshness and your familiar dinner with new flavors is ready. Watch your family dig in!
Zestuous Coconut Milk Tip
What’s the difference between Coconut Milk and Lite Coconut Milk? Water! Check the ingredients. The first ingredient in the full-fat milk is coconut and the second is water. In the lite milk, the first ingredient is water and the second is coconut. Both cans cost around $3, but one is two-thirds water. Next time you buy coconut milk, buy the full-fat version and water it down yourself to reduce the fat. I like to water it down with chicken broth for extra flavor.
- 1 5-lb. chicken
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 3 Serrano peppers
- 30 basil leaves
- 2 lime
- 3 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 3 russet potatoes
- 1 sweet potato
- 3 tablespoons butter
Place the chicken in a zip-top bag. To the bag, add 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 chopped Serrano pepper, 10 chopped basil leaves, the juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon salt. Seal the bag and place on a sheet pan (breast side down). Marinade in the fridge overnight or all day while you’re at work.
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large skillet or baking dish. Sprinkle inside and out with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Slice 1 Serrano pepper in half and place in the cavity with 10 basil leaves. Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place in a 425-degree oven and roast for one hour. Remove from oven and let rest.
Just before serving, squeeze juice from 1 lime over the chicken and carve.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the potatoes. Peel and cube and boil in salted water until tender.
Remove the potatoes from the pan. Pour out the water and add 3 tablespoons butter, the remaining coconut milk (about ¾ cup), ½ cup chicken broth, 1 Serrano pepper cut in half, 10 basil leaves and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat over low heat to steep the flavors for 5-10 minutes.
Remove the pepper and basil and add the cooked potatoes to the pan. Mash until smooth. Serve with the chicken.