World Cup Chicken from Little Brazil

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The green and yellow Brazilian flags are fluttering proudly in our local area, a carnival atmosphere in the warm sunshine. In a part of London with a significant South American population, expectation is building.

Yes, there are rights and wrongs and politics all over the place in this world cup and future ones, but right now in our neighbourhood it seems these things have been put aside in favour of a great tournament.

We were at home last evening, neither of us are working this weekend, we will have lunch with Karl-Heinz and The Minx today but last night we took advantage and had a bit of a barbecue. Rocket has been wanting to try out a ‘beer can chicken’  for a while and he prepared a chicken according to a recipe by David Ponte from the Cabana cookbook, via an article in the Guardian. It’s a brazilian version as the marinade is along the lines of a Caiparinha cocktail. Of course it was free range and yes, it was organic, but there really isn’t any dignity for the chicken!

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We made handful of sweet potato wedges, parboiled the spuds, chilled them down, coated them in a little oil and popped them in the oven for 30 minutes to go even more deeply amber. Unfortunately, whilst on the phone to Slippers, Rocket forgot about the wedges and they were a little more charred than we hoped…

We had a crisp green salad, with avocado, some slices from a big fat spring onion that I pickled in the juice of a lime, a pinch of salt and sugar and left to sit for an hour. We added a few piquant red peppers from a jar, lightly coated the leaves with a simple lime and oil dressing…

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As a Brazilian themed snack before dinner, I followed Ms Marmite lover’s recipe for Brazilian cheese bread here. I believe hers was also from The Cabana Cook Book, I made a last moment decision to make these and they were very tasty. There would have been a picture of ours, but….we ate them and forgot to take one, hey ho. They were lovely – in the centre reminding me a bit of a gougère –  a french cheese choux, but these were very definitely a bread in texture over all.

Here is how to do the chicken:

Rocket put the beloved jerk pan on to get good and hot, until the coals were glowing hot but no more flames.

I rubbed a whole free range chicken inside and out with salt, black pepper and plenty of finely chopped fresh sage.

Rocket made the ‘steaming marinade’ from:

The juice of two limes

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

3 tablespoons of dark rum – David recommends Caracha – a Brazilian rum like spirit made from sugar cane , but we had some dark rum and used that as a substitute for the sake of economy.

3 crushed garlic cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt,

2 tablespoons of olive oil – or rapeseed, your choice.

5 / 6 large sage leaves finely chopped.

Rocket mixed everything up in a jug so as to melt the sugar, he then poured it carefully into a clean empty beer can after which he placed the chicken – neck side up – onto the can, pulled the legs apart so that it was stable and placed onto a deposable bbq tray thingy. Next he pulled the skin over the neck end after putting half a lime in the cavity to ensure a good seal ensuring it would steam well.

You then cook it on the barbie with the lid down – if you have a lid, If not it might be possible to fashion something out of foil? I’m not the ‘barbecuer’ in this house….we have fallen into a sad stereotype (in relation to barbecuing only) I’m not proud of it.

Depending on the size, cook for 45 to 55 minutes – we let ours go for 50 minutes, then realised the BBQ temperature had dropped quiet a bit. So here is the thing about confidence in cooking meat – get a thermometer. It takes away any uncertainty, and ensures that you don’t feel the need to over cook everything by way of being safe.

Resorting to said thermometer, we let the bird cook on for another 15 minutes, until it had increased more toward the specified temperature, after which we carefully coated the chicken in a little more rum and sugar mixture and left it for a further 15 minutes until golden, checking the temperature for final time before allowing it to rest.

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There was easily enough for 4, we shall enjoy it all over again on Sunday night. The chicken was very moist and there was a background fragrance – it was very subtle, an ethereal dream of rum, a slight sweetness and the herby savoury undertone, perhaps from the sage.

We are ready to party! Come onEngland!

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