Mombacho Café Roast Chicken

By Trent Blodgett

Mombacho Café Roast Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken can be the best way to start your week. For two people, one chicken can easily stretch into two or more meals, saving you money and time, not to mention, leaving you with a carcass that can be slow-simmered with aromatics to create a great stock to freeze and use later. I recommend using a dry brine, but a wet brine or brine injection also works well. Brining your bird the day before, or at least 2 hours in advance, is key. With a dry brine, the result will be juicy and incredibly flavorful meat. Everyone has preferences when it comes to a roast chicken, some like crispy skin, some enjoy a nice spice crust from a dry rub, some prefer sticky and flavorful skin from a marinade while some enjoy a nice charred bird. I usually opt for a simple salt and pepper roast chicken with crispy skin or an occasional dry-rubbed bird. Not very often do I marinate my chicken until I tried this recipe. This wont give you as crispy skin as a dry roasted bird since the liquid has to evaporate before it caramelizes but you will get some charred parts from the sugar content and incredibly flavorful dinner. I dont marinate the chicken for very long since we dry brine the day before, this is more of a sauce that glazes the bird as it cooks. The key to this flavorful marinade is the Mombacho Caf cooking base. We slowly cook the aromatics and spices in oil to create a sofrito that can be the base for manydishes.

SPATCHCOCK METHOD

The name itself sounds advanced and technical, but even a novice cook can perfectly spatchcock a bird. The final result is a butterflied bird that will cook evenly and much more quickly than its whole counterpart.

Place your whole bird, breast side down, on a cutting board (on a clean towel to prevent slippage). With kitchen shears or scissors, cut along the side of the spine, right through the ribs until your bird splits open. Slice down the other side of the spine to remove the backbone. Turn it over, inner side down, open it up and flatten it out, pressing down on the breast bone to crack it. The breasts will now be in the middle of your chicken with the legs and thighs on the outer edges. (Dont throw it out, but save it to add to the bones from your whole, cooked chicken to make a stock or a jus to eat with the chicken.) The thighs and legs in this orientation protect high heat from reaching the breast too soon, resulting in a perfectly cookedbird.

WHOLE CHICKEN THINGS TOREMEMBER

  • Buy Free Range and AirChilled.
  • Use the Spatchcock Method for even and quickcooking.
  • Keep the backbone for use in stock and a quick aujus.
  • Roast at 400450 F depending on the oven (turn it down if it browns too quickly).
  • Roast 1520 minutes per pound until the thickest part of the breast reaches 150 F and the legs and thighs reach 165F
  • Place root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, parsnips), mushrooms, chopped onion under the rack to soak up thosejuices.
  • Best flavors and results come from dry brining overnight.
  • Tempering is when you leave the meat at room temperature to raise the internal temperature of the meat before cooking. This helps with even cooking. The larger the piece of meat the longer it will need totemper.

Ingredients

  • 1 air-chilled chicken 3lb, spatchcocked (seeabove)
  • Onions, garlic, root vegetables, etc (optional)
  • Serve with tortillas, salsa, and limes ifdesired

Marinade

  • 2 cups Mombacho Caf Bacon Sofrito (or see bottom ofpage)
  • 2 Tbsp oliveoil
  • 1.25 cups orangejuice
  • 2 tsp Pimentn de la Vera: Spanish smokedpaprika
  • 3 Tbsp ofhoney
  • 2 Tbsp apple cidervinegar
  • Salt totaste

Steps

  1. Dry brine the chicken: Season the chicken with a generous amount of salt. Make sure to get under the skin and all over and leave uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, preferably on a wire rack over a sheetpan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F, preferably convection.
  3. Pure all of the marinade ingredients until smooth and season with salt totaste.
  4. Pour marinade all over the chicken making sure to rub some marinade under the skin. You can leave the chicken in the marinade anywhere from 30 min2 hours at room temperature totemper.
  5. Place onions, garlic, and root vegetables on a sheet pan if using and place the chicken on top. You can also roast the chicken directly on the wire rack on the sheet pan. Place the breasts face the oven door so the legs get stronger heat in the back of theoven.
  6. Roast 1520 minutes per pound until the thickest part of the breast reaches 150 F and the legs and thighs reach 165 F. About 1 hour for a 3 lb bird. Make sure to check the chicken every 1530 minutes to make sure it is cooking evenly. Adjust temperature between 400450 F if necessary.
  7. Let the chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving andserving.

MOMBACHO CAFE BACONSOFRITO

With the added depth of bacon, your dishes may never be the same! Great in rice, beans, braises, soups, and stews or even a marinade!

ADDITIONAL TIPS/THINGS TOREMEMBER

  • Starting the bacon in a cold pan with water will help to render more fat and fryevenly.
  • The bacon fat replaces cooking oil in this recipe and is unparalleled for caramelizing your onions andpeppers.
  • Use this sofrito to make arroz con pollo, mix in with a can of beans or as a bean base, marinade, base for sauces, or toss in with your vegetables!

Makes: 1.5- 2cups

Prep time: 10minutes

Cook time: 40minutes

EQUIPMENT

Heavy BottomPot

Wooden Spoon

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 ounces bacon, roughly chopped into pieces
  • 2 red onions, chopped fine (about 2cups)
  • cup fresh garlic, choppedfine
  • 2 cups red bell pepper, choppedfine
  • 1 cup jalapeo peppers, seeded (or not, if you like it spicy) and choppedfine
  • 2 Tbsp Mombacho Cafe SpiceBlend
  • cup water, more asneeded

STEPS

  1. Add bacon and water to a cold pan and turn heat to medium. As the water evaporates, the bacon will fry evenly in its own fat. Let cook until almost crispy before proceeding to step 2. If water is evaporating too quickly, you can add more water or cover the pan with alid.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add onions and pepper and saut, stirring occasionally about 1520minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 10 more minutes. At this point, your ingredients should be nice and caramelized.
  4. Add Mombacho Cafe Spice Blend and stir well. Cook another 23minutes.
  5. Use immediately, or cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week; or, freeze for futureuse.

Mombacho Café Roast Chicken was originally published in Spice Tribe on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.