Our first meal of 2012 was brunch at Papagayo. It was fabulous, and contrary to what I said about writing about food this year, I did take pictures, and I will be blogging about it. A make-your-own Bloody Mary bar is worth writing about.
Unfortunately, brunch, followed by shopping for new running shoes, followed by grocery shopping, was too much for my illness-worn body, and by the time dinner rolled around on January 1, I was back in bed. At 6:00.
Thank goodness for Sex and the City marathons to pass the time. Oh yeah, and Homeland and Midnight in Paris. Clearly, I had an active weekend. I pretty much did nothing for three days, but I don’t feel at all relaxed. Does that even make sense?
Anyway, I woke up Monday with my 10th day of a sore throat but feeling better. I was determined to make something delicious for dinner, even though my appetite was still missing.
I started by cleaning a whole chicken and popping it into a large tupperware container for brining. On my way home from Ireland, I watched a Jamie Oliver Christmas special on the plane, and I had been thinking about his jerk ham brine ever since. I used some elements of it as inspiration for my own brine.
I coated the chicken in salt and let it sit out in the open air while I mixed up its bath for the day.
About 1 cup of Brugal white rum – I planned to use more, but I think it evaporated because most of the rum was gone.
A ton of spices – fresh black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, and more salt
I added the spice mixture and rum to the chicken, rubbing it on with the back of a spoon and filling the cavity with some of the mix. Then I poured in enough water to cover the chicken, added more salt, some cumin, mixed it all up, and then put the sealed container in the fridge for about six hours.
Before I was ready to get cooking, I set the oven to pre-heat to 375 and got started on some veggies. I found these beautiful sweet peppers at Market Basket, and they were the perfect thing for roasting, along with some yellow onions.
Once the chicken was out of the brine, I stuffed it with a few pats of butter and let it cook for about an hour and 20 minutes until crispy and golden. In the meantime, I mashed up a bunch of sweet potatoes with SO Delicious coconut milk. I highly recommend.
The chicken smelled amazing, and the peppers cooked down really nicely. Apologies for the mangled drumstick, I went to check it, and it fell off.
Yum. I served the chicken atop the sweet potatoes and alongside the peppers and onions, topped with a simple homemade gravy. It was such a satisfying, delicious, and somewhat healthy meal and a great way to kick off the New Year. Lots of leftovers mean lunch for both of us today!
What was the first thing you cooked in 2012?