There is just something different about food when you’re living in a culturally diverse place like the San Francisco Bay Area, besides seeing squid in between the chicken and the trout in the Safeway freezer. The unique ways in which different cultures approach cooking the same food is pretty exciting for us, because it makes it really difficult to run out of things to do with the same dish. Take chicken for example. Growing up, Eric ate more baked BBQ chicken that you could possibly imagine. With rice and green beans or peas it was a perfect busy-weekday American style staple. Our friends from Asian or Mexican households tell us about their chicken based staples growing that would use the exact same animal and create a completely different meal that was very basic to them but complicated or foreign to us. This is extremely apparent in a diverse city like San Francisco, where Charisse learned first hand the differences between Chinese style whole chicken and American style. In American style whole chicken, the insides are usually cleaned out, put in a small bag and placed inside the cavity (if you shop at expensive stores, otherwise they are just tossed in there). We were living in Downtown San Francsico near the boarder of Downtown, Chinatown and the Little Italy area, so the markets catered to everyone as best they could. Charisse got home early from work, having stopped by out market to pick up a whole chicken for dinner. Upon opening the wrapper she found what looked like the bag stuck in the cavity, so she grabbed it and pulled it out, only to realize as she stared at two lifeless eyes that this was not the bag but rather the whole head from the neck up. She screamed and threw the whole thing up in the air and promptly called Eric, who was working for a Chinese family at the time. After about 10 minutes he had calmed down enough to force words out between the fits of laughter he told the story to his bosses, who simply stared at him and said “isn’t that normally how they come?” That being said, Charisse was very careful when opening up the chicken for our dinner the other day. This was a simple roasted chicken, stuffed with goat cheese and a honey glaze on top, which added a little extra crisp to the skin and really worked well with the cheese to keep the bird moist.
Honey-Glazed Chicken with Peppers and Goat Cheese
What you will need:
1/2 cup goat cheese
3/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
3 lb whole chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon half
2 fresh green jalapeno peppers, halved (seeds in)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and Pepper
Set your oven to 375*. Combine your goat cheese and the cilantro and put this aside.
Remove the innards (screaming not required but added in small doses for spousal comedic effect) and loosen the skin by pushing your hand under the skin starting at the cavity and working around the bird. Rub in your cheese mixture under the whole skin.
Give your chicken a good solid basting of olive oil, salt and pepper somewhat liberally. Toss two garlic cloves and the lemon half into the cavity. Tie the legs and fold the wings under the bird and place onto a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Toss your pepper halves into the roasting pan for extra flavor
Roast for 60 minutes, uncovered. Mix your pepper flakes into the honey and brush this over the bird periodically while it cooks and baste the juices over the bird as you do this. Check it after the 60 minutes are up, brushing on a thick layer of honey pepper mixture. Let it roast another 10-15 minutes until done. Put it out when the drumsticks are loose and the bird is not pink. Cover it in foil and let it stand another 10 minutes, then serve.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens