4.14.10 Mi-So Divine
Although there's a lot to be said for a chicken roasted in the classic manner, and I'm quite pleased with my own herb-laden, butter-smeared Scarborough Fair version, I may never make it again. Why? Because that gorgeously bronzed, deceptively simple chicken pictured above is quite possibly The Best Chicken Ever. At least that's what my guests claimed as they scarfed it down the other night. And you'll probably concur. I strongly urge you to make it right away. The recipe is from Tim Wu who shoots the videos for Food52, where it was an editor's pick and garnered quite an impressive number of fans. (Misoyaki means grill in Japanese.) He has you marinate the bird in a paste of red miso and sweet mirin before popping it in a hot oven. As it roasts, you make a sauce of onions, garlic, soy sauce and mirin that is finished with a little butter and more miso. It's incredibly easy and the chicken emerges so juicy and full of flavor, with a crisp, salty, caramelized skin that's truly delectable. The onion sauce would seem like gilding the lily if it didn't go so perfectly with the rice you'll be serving alongside. I like a Japanese short grain, preferably the brown kind, if you can find it. Cook up some greens (we had quick-sauteed collards) and you've got a simple meal that's impressive enough for company but easy enough to make all the time. Which you will want to.
Please get a lovely organic bird. Tim's recipe called for a 3 1/2 pounder, but I've scaled the recipe up so you can feed more hungry friends. This is quite a salty dish, so you may want to use a low-sodium soy sauce and a bit less miso if yours is very salty.Misoyaki Chickenserves 66 pound organic chicken3/4 cup red miso paste3/4 cup mirinOnion Sauce 1 cup miced onion1 cup water1/2 cup soy sauce1/2 cup mirin2 cloves garlic, grated2 tablespoon butter2 teaspoons red misoMix the mirin and miso together to make a loose paste.Smother the chicken with the marinade, inside and out.Place the chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably all day or even overnight. Turn it a few times, re-slathering to make sure all sides are covered.Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.Take the chicken out of the fridge and wipe off the marinade. Really scrape it off because it will just blacken otherwise.Brush on some melted butter over the chicken, nestle it in a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and roast for an additional 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you prick the thigh with a knife.Meanwhile, make the Onion Sauce:In small saucepan, sweat the minced onion in a bit of vegetable oil. When it becomes translucent, add the water, mirin, soy sauce and grated garlic. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low and let bubble while the chicken cooks.5 minutes before the chicken is done, sprinkle it with some mirin. This gives the bird a delightful shine and sweetness. When the bird is done, take it out of the oven, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.Finish the sauce by taking it off the heat and stirring in the butter and miso paste.(Miso actually loses its flavor the more it’s heated, so do this off the heat.)