So I’m not really big on posting recipes. Why? Well, let’s be honest, there’s a ton of recipes out there already and I’m not exactly Marco Pierre White, even though I’m dying to read his autobiography. I just like to cook. Though I can’t even follow recipes myself, seriously.
There are really two types of cooks: those that can cook ‘winging it,’ knowing how flavors work together and just trying things as they go along; and those that follow recipes. I’m definitely not the latter. I’m the guy with the blank look on his face staring at shelves in the supermarket, working out dishes in my head.
I spend 20-minutes staring at the vegetable aisle figuring out what I’m going to cook. Actually, I spend 10-minutes in the meat aisle first, then once I’ve picked my meat I head to the veggie aisle for that decision process. The only thing that takes longer is picking a DVD on Sunday evening.
Anyways, Sunday was a beautiful summer-like day, Dad was in town and my sister texted me to see what we should make for lunch. I suddenly found myself sending the message back, “Braaied chicken marinated in Berne, chili, ginger, garlic, and tons of honey. Sides etc.” Maybe it was because I hadn’t had a beer in ages. Like two full days. Or whatever, I just felt like making that. And drinking Berne.
There’s something satisfying about drinking and eating something made with the same beverage. As an amateur cook, the second best thing about having a professional cook sister is that she has everything in her kitchen (Obviously the best thing is when she cooks herself). She simply replied: “Just bring the beer.”
And so it happened. Chicken in Berne. With loads of garlic, chili, ginger, harissa paste, and other stuff is thrown in too. What paste, huh? Harissa, there you go. It’s really freaking easy, so easy I figured I could post the recipe and even people from both camps (the recipe followers and the ‘winging it’ folk) could try it.
It worked really well, the spices and beer flavors merging into one unified smack of deliciousness. Even more so when served alongside some grated fennel salad with vinaigrette and some baby potatoes drenched in olive oil, parsley, and coriander.
Sunday lunch. With the family. And beer. Winning, it’s really not hard.
- 1 Elgin Free-Range chicken, spatchcocked (can someone Google that to find out where the hell that word came from?)
- 1 Brewers & Union Berne Amber Lager
- Tbsp garlic
- Tbsp ginger
- Tbsp green chili
- 3 tbsp harissa paste
- 5 Tbsp honey
- tsp paprika
- tsp cumin
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1/2 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lime & 1 lemon
- Okay, it simple from here. Firstly, light your fire, ideally, wood with some charcoal added.
- While that’s burning down, make a mix from the garlic, ginger, chili along with a good dose of salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Cut your chicken in half, breasts joined in the middle, and press flat. Salt and pepper both sides all over, then take the above mix and spread it under the skin that covers the breasts & legs, saving a little bit of mix.
- Put the chicken in a dish, breast-side up, and empty the Berne all over it. Then sprinkle the remaining garlic-etc mix over the top along with 1/2 the harissa paste, paprika, and cumin.
- Let this sit for at least an hour or so. The longer the better.
- Once the fire’s ready, separate the coals and add the chicken so it’s not on direct heat, then if it’s a Weber, put the lid on to smoke it nicely. Turn it a few times over 30 minutes, basting with the beer.
- Leave the chicken to cook, head to the kitchen and reduce the beer mixture in a pan until it’s about 1/4 of its original volume. Once it’s there, add the honey and remaining harissa paste and cook a few minutes longer then remove. Take this outside and baste the chicken a few times, turning, until it’s ready (i.e. nicely browned, cooked through).
- Remove chicken and cut on a board into pieces. Pour reduced beer sauce over the top, squeeze lemon & lime and then sprinkle with coriander & parsley and serve, with some more Berne.*
There it is. Less yada yada. More happy eating.
* And if you didn’t finish two Berne’s yourself during the cooking process you’ve failed miserably!