A delicious alternative to classic roast chicken and shows how to cook simple, authentic Brazilian rice. The juices from the chicken will soak into the rice adding extra flavour. For an extra-succulent and moist result try brining the chicken before cooking (optional).
- 1-1.2kg whole chicken, butterflied
For the brine (optional)
- 100g brown sugar
- 100g coarse sea salt
- 1 litre hot water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 150ml Cachaça
- Juice and zest of 1
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
For the rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 cup jasmine white rice
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
To butterfly the chicken
Remove the backbone by placing the chicken breast-side down on a board and, using a very sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone, staying as close to the bone as possible.
Turn the chicken over. Use a tray or board and press down firmly to flatten the breastbone. Alternatively, ask your butcher to prepare the chicken for you.
To brine the chicken (optional)
In a large bowl big enough to submerge the chicken, mix the salt and sugar with the hot water until dissolved, then mix in all the remaining ingredients. Submerge the chicken, cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To cook the chicken and rice
Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/ 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4.
Remove the chicken from the brine (if applicable) and pat dry with kitchen paper and rub all over with olive oil. Discard the brine.
Heat the grill on a medium heat setting. Test the temperature of the pan – see Cook’s notes - and when hot enough place the chicken skin-side down pressing firmly to maximise contact with the grill. Cook for 12-15 minutes then carefully turn over, with tongs, skin-side up and cook again for a further 12-15 minutes.
Place the grill into the oven and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove and allow the chicken to rest on the grill for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in the casserole on a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes, without colouring. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom and all grains are coated in oil.
Add the water and salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, put on the lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Stir through the coriander and serve.
- To check if the grill is hot enough add a few drops of cold water to the hot surface. If it sizzles and the water evaporates almost immediately, it is hot enough and ready for use. If the water produces steam and has no sizzle, heat the pan for a little longer and repeat the test again.
- To flatten the chicken weigh it down by placing a heavy pan wrapped in foil on it during cooking.
- Rest the chicken for as long as possible to relax and tenderise the meat
- Garnish the chicken with lime wedges and serve with a pot of hot pepper sauce.