My computer had a virus (a free hard drive cleaner pop-up) and I had to re-install my OS (it would not let me do a system restore). That was the reason why I could not post photo-blogposts in the past week. It is okay now...
My husband invited some Jamaican farm workers over at our house for dinner. At first he requested me to make beef pares, but then learned that Jamaicans do not usually eat beef apparently because it was expensive in their country (like in PI), but we were not sure whether there was a religious factor to consider. To be on the safe side, I looked for Jamaican recipes using chicken. Originally titled as Orange and Ginger Chicken using cut portions of a whole chicken, I modified it to cook the whole chicken, using lemon and tangerine orange(what I had in my fridge) as substitute for orange. Everyone was pleased with the results.
Here is the original recipe (I would have provided the link to the site but I could no longer find it, although I had a printed Word copy of it. You will notice there is no ginger nor "seasonings" in the list of ingredients.):
Orange and Ginger Chicken
The Plantation Inn, now Royal Plantation, once served this as a specialty of the house. This elegant resort has hosted many celebrity travelers and was the setting for Prelude to a Kiss, starring Meg Ryan.
1 whole chicken, cut into eight pieces
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp sugar
1 green pepper, diced
Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Cut whole chicken into 8 pieces and season with mix of seasoning (I am not sure what they referred to here), garlic and onions. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour sauce over chicken in a shallow baking dish and bake for one hour, basting chicken as often as needed. Serve with rice.
What I used and did:
Citrus and Ginger Chicken
1 whole chicken
garlic rosemary paste - 1 whole garlic, roasted, peeled and mashed, plus 1 tsp of dried rosemary - this I placed underneath the skin (just like I do with roast chicken)
1 onion, sliced
marinade - made up of 1/2 cup tangerine orange juice (1 whole orange), 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 whole), 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp soy sauce, 3 tsp sugar, 1 diced green pepper, and thumb-sized ginger, pelled, crushed and sliced thin. (Note: Reserve the rinds of orange and lemon to stuff into the cavity)
cornstarch-water mixture (1 tbsp:1/2 cup) for thickening the sauce
Be warned that the way I did this required a whole weekend day (well, I really did not care because I was busy preparing other dishes).
Prepare the marinade and garlic-rosemary paste.
Apply the paste under the skin of the most meaty parts.
Lay the slices of onions at the bottom of foil-lined slow cooker.
Pour 1/2 of the marinade into the chicken cavity and 1/4 into the slow cooker.
Place the chicken breast side down and then pour the remaining marinade.
Cover and let cook on low setting for 3 hours (This allows the chicken to absorb the marinade while already starting to cook the chicken. The three hours will be enough such that you will be able to lift the chicken out onto a rack for browning in the oven without it falling apart. I thought my foil was sturdy enough to assist in that, but I should have used a heavy-duty foil.)
Transfer the chicken onto a baking dish breast side up and start to bake at 350 deg F. Gather the sauce and boil. Thicken with cornstarch water mixture. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting and the rest for use as gravy.
Baste the chicken and let bake for 30 minutes. Baste again and continue baking for 30 minutes. If it gets too burnt looking, cover with foil (but soy sauce will naturally produce that look. It will be up to you to judge whether that charred look is what you want. To me, this reminds me of grilled chicken in barbecue stands in PI.)
Here was my menu:
Arroz ala Valenciana (from the unofficial cook)
Escabecheng Tilapia (Fried Tilapia with sweet and sour chili sauce courtesy of JMom -loved it!)
Fish Lumpia with Jufran chili sauce
Fresh Lumpia with paalat sauce
Leche Flan (sorry, not in the pic)
Light Wheat Bread (using bread machine)
(I boiled one potato for hubby)
The Jamaicans brought beer (we in the family do not drink alcohol). We finished almost everything, but I forewarned the Jamaicans to remove the paper off the fresh lumpia. They ended up not eating even the crepes (waah! sayang pagod ko!). I should have eaten the fresh lumpia first to demonstrate to them how to enjoy it. Oh well...at least they went back to the table at least 3 times (I placed the dishes on a separate table a la buffet style to make space on the dining table).
Hubby was quite surprised at the small feast I prepared (his family of origin usually does not prepare appetizers and side dishes except for Thanksgiving or Christmas), and he was so proud of me. The Jamaicans were all praises as well (I could not understand them because of their strong accent, though. Hubby had to relay the message to me).
I did have leftover red meat from the chicken, which I chopped roughly and mixed with the leftover sauce, then used as chicken siopao. (More details on how I make siopao can be found here.)