Yes, the bird again. I am really starting to appreciate it’s versatility, it’s tofu like qualities to take on other flavors. It’s cheap too and it just makes people happy. I had chicken and dumplings for the first time the other day at my neighbors Kevin and Lisa’s restaurant. Gobbled it up. And so the new love affair continues. I saw this in this month’s Food & Wine: ‘Tea Smoked Chicken’. Sounded exotic. The picture was beautiful and so was the chef that created it and the recipe came with a pedigree. Now, outside of Thanksgiving, I usually don’t spend multiple days preparing a dish and certainly rarely go through the numerous steps called for to create this recipe; I’m impatient and such recipes seem fussy. But I was intrigued and the chef, Andrea Reusing, promised it would deliver and for some reason I trusted her, she looked trustworthy and she used the word ‘doozy’. The reality is I don’t know why this woman has not yet published a cookbook. Andrea - I would buy it and I’d buy copies for my friends. Please publish a cookbook. Until then I will use all the recipes in this month’s Food and Wine again and again.
When I rolled out my first try at this Jim and Jayme decimated the bird, picked it clean, n o t h i n g for the dogs, at all. Jayme declared it the best thing I’ve ever made her and Jim said he thought it was damn good and not to change a thing. Jayme then went on to boldly state it was better than the Thomas Keller chicken I constantly make. Take that TK. Girls rule. We had it again last night and I could not wait to get home for lunch today to eat the leftovers. It is a total home run.
I served it, as Andrea recommended, with green beans with her XO sauce. Perhaps that’s another blog, but let me say that the XO sauce was awesome. The blog momofukufortwo.com recommends giving XO as a gift; I’d be happy to have it as a gift. And if I know you and you’re reading this - you might be getting it for Christmas because I know have a lot of tiny dried shrimp in my fridge and not a whole heck of a lot of recipes that call for them. I also served jasmine rice and the ginger scallion dressing Andrea recommends for the chicken. The sauce was baffling to me, vegetable oil, scallions and ginger, that’s it, not heated up, just vegetable oil, ginger and scallions; I was very confused. It actually went great in/on our rice but that chicken is so special it did not need the addition of any sauce, so I say skip it.
Andrea calls for two birds, I used (1) 31/2 lb. bird both times, I did not reduce the amount of brine or smoking ingredients she recommends for both birds. For some reason I could not find loose black tea, so I cut open 10-12 Tazo teabags to create the needed quantity of loose tea. Obviously the type of tea you select will effect the chicken. I found a 50/50 combination of Earl Gray and a less pungent black tea worked the best.
My advice would be to do this on a weekend, make it a Sunday night dinner and start the brining Saturday. Be patient, read all the directions about 7 times before embarking; I know I did. The result is a stunner. I plan to tea smoke a whole bunch of things. Next up, Andrea's Carmel Lacquered Pork Belly.
Tea Smoked Chicken - From Andrea Reusing