I love Christmas..I love Christmas traditions.. and no. .I am not Christian by religion, but when has trivial things like religion got anything to do with love!!???
I can see how that line of mine might hurt the sentiments of a zealous few..but here's what I believe..
Christmas is so much more than just a religious day...it is an emotion. It is a feeling. It is a way of being..a way of living your life..
And I love the Christmas spirit... the celebrations..the midnight mass, the decorations...the carols...the puddings and obviously the famous Christmas dinner!!
Few other things are as beautiful as Christmas midnight mass in my mind....If you haven't attended one yet, do it this year... You will come out of the church feeling like a new person...filled with hope and joy...and with a feeling of doing good unto others!!
May be I owe my love for Christmas to my convent education .. I can till date ,belt out a perfectly pitched " Silent Night" and "Oh come all ye faithful" without missing a single word...thats how strong the memories of Christmas are in me... Back in school, I used to be a part of the school choir..and my memories of Christmas in school are simply some of the most cherished ones..I am talking taking part in school plays, singing in the choir, helping out with the whole decor of the hall and so much unbridled joy!!
That joyful spirit was followed at my home, with my mom always, always baking The Most Delicious Chocolate Pudding Ever....I am talking proper Christmas pudding.. The kinds you have to soak a couple of months before hand... which by the way I already have, what about you??
As a mother, I want to pass on the tradition of Christmas to baby D...
Take this time to teach her not just her ABCs but also the subtler and much more important lessons of giving...of spreading joy...of giving hope to others...of unconditional love... of the importance of acceptance...of not being judgemental towards others.... of sharing and most importantly , of being generous.
I won't be spouting just the Holy sins... no.. I will try to imbibe in her much more than that... I will teach her first the things she should keep in mind..and do...rather than give her a long list of things Not-to-do!
Its a beautiful feeling...to hear that you are kind, and generous. But its even better to act on that generosity...
I am no Mother Teresa...I am just your plain old regular mom, trying to do everything I can..and almost always working at a frenetic pace...failing often enough, but always getting up and dusting off before starting anew...
Here's a small request from me...
Help someone out ..anyone who is in need..It might be a very small thing for you.. like donating old woollens or blankets, old body warmers..or that old kettle you still keep, even some random handpicked flowers...old toys and books for some kids...even better if you are rich enough to buy them new..but the point is, give!!
Those may not be of any use to you, but for someone, they might give them a little hope..and some much needed joy!
Feed someone... It doesn't have to a fancy schmancy five course meal.. Heck.. it might just be some bread and cheese...some simple Chawal dal subji... but make an effort to share... break bread with some one who needs it..Not all homeless people are bad...Share what you can.
Anyways, enough with the heavy!! Lets talk food... :P
This Christmas, I have decided to start a new tradition at my home... The tradition of Chicken Roast, not just the pudding.. and I am loving it!!
Let me confess up, this is my first chicken roast... I may not have done a perfect job of keeping the shape or whatever, but the taste.. well that was pretty sensational, even if I say so myself :P
But this one takes time, you have to start on it the previous night....but the result...???
Boy Oh boy... Hallelujah!!
Talk about succulent, juicy tender pieces of chicken, in an orange honey sauce thats so fragrant and sticks sooo amazingly to the chicken, that every forkful will garner a "Aah" from you and your loved ones!!
Hey, isn't that what Christmas is all about?? ;) Bringing Joy??? Even if its only coz of a humble little bird ? ;)
I served it with a few side staples... (Recipes for the sides coming up separately)
1. There were Potato two ways : A Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes and a Parmesan and crumb crusted Fondant Potato dish .
2. A Fabulous Sticky glazed Carrots..
3. A Salad of Grilled Green Beans, Orange segments, Watermelon and Red Currants..with peanuts and Chocolate shavings.
4.A Wilted Spinach with Garlic chips and red chillies.
5.Garlic Rosemary Bread ( store bought, but obviously toasted)
Together it made for the most delicious, hearty and homely meal ever... I think its gonna be a "Singh family" favorite now, next only to my infamous Chicken Dum Biriyani!! Remind me to share that beauty with you one day :)
All I can say is...
Good tidings we bring ,to you and your kin...
Good tidings for Christmas and a happy new year!!
Brined Chicken Roast in Spicy Orange Honey Sauce
For the brine:
Whole skinless chicken of about 1.3 kg
1/2 cup iodized or plain salt
2 cups hot water
5 cups cold water
For the Spice rub :
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Lemon zest - 1 tsp
Orange Zest - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Pepper - 1 tsp
Red chillie powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Dark Soya Sauce - 1 tbspButter
Whole Orange sliced (to be stuffed inside)
Thyme and Rosemary sprigs (to be stuffed)
For the Orange Sauce:
Juice of 2-3 Oranges (freshly squeezed)
Dash 1 tbsp (another 1 tsp later)
Mustard Sauce 1 tbsp
Suya Sauce 1 tsp
Hot and sweet tomato ketchup 1 1/2 tbsp
Brown Sugar 1 tbsp
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and Pepper
Red Chillie Powder / flakes as per taste
Directions for Brining:
In a plastic container or stainless-steel bowl large enough to hold the chicken, stir and dissolve the salt in the hot water. Add the cold water and stir. Rinse the chicken, then submerge it in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours, the longer the better.
I had time only for 2 hours...but even that resulted in much more tender and moist chicken.
For the Chicken:
- Wash the chicken and its cavity with cold running water and making sure that its pat dry.
- Make the brine, and immerse the chicken in it for the stipulated time.- 1 to 4 hrs.
- When the time is up,remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Make deep insertions / cuts on the chicken, this helps the marinate to penetrate inside the chicken.
- Rub with the butter and season inside and out with pepper. Place the thyme and rosemary sprigs,sliced orange in the cavity.
- Prepare the marination -Mix all the ingredients under the spice rub well and spread it evenly on the chicken and its cavity.Cover and refrigerate in highest setting for minimum 3 hrs or over night. I did over night.
- Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C and prepare a baking tray with foil and set the chicken on it.
- When ready to bake, and the chicken has reached room temperature, put it on a baking tray lined with foil, cut up a few slivers of butter (or simply rub it on) and stick it on the chicken in many places. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip over the chicken, pour the prepared orange sauce all over it,even a little into the cavity..reserve some for basting..bake for another 20 minutes.
- Flip once again...baste that side of the chicken with more sauce...add a little butter to this side again, and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- The chicken is done when the thickest part of the thigh is cooked.. test: push a small knife in the thickest part,if the juices run clear, the chicken is done. If not, bake a little longer. A lot would depend on the actual size of the chicken.
- When done, take out the tray, and make a foil tent over it. Simply take foil and make it into a large cone shape so that it covers the whole chicken while leaving room at the top.
- Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
To make the Sauce:
Simply whisk all the ingredients together till smooth. Taste and adjust. Very very important!
The proper sauce should be perfectly balanced...It should be sweet yet tangy,with an underlying hint of spice and chillie..and should most definitely not to be sour or sweet. Adjust adjust adjust before you pour it on the chicken!!
- Its very important to wash your hands before and AFTER handling meat to avoid spreading of bacteria
- Since this was my first roast, I did the mistake (probably) of cutting it in half from the centre...You can still stuff the flavorings inside..as I did of course... Or just ask your butcher to do this bit for you and don't repeat my mistakes.. learn from mine to avoid yours.. ;)
- I also made a few insertions on the chicken, it really helps the marinate to flavor further
- Marinating chicken overnight builds lots of flavor and helps chicken to be soft .
- I brined the chicken for 2 hours, took it out, marinated it overnight...
- Always allow the chicken to come to room temperature first. Never put a cold chicken in the oven it tends to shock the chicken and does not cook properly
- Always cover the chicken in the refrigerator to avoid contamination of other food stuffs and avoid odour.
- Using silver foil helps the chicken from sticking to the baking tray and also its easy to clean.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes in a foil tent, serving serving. Very important.
Labels: Brine, Chicken, chicken roast, christmas, Orange sauce, sides