Red Pepper Taxicab Chicken

By • January 11, 2012 • 31 Comments

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Author Notes: This chicken originated in a taxi ride with my young daughter. When televisions were first placed in the back seats of New York taxis (yes, we have TVs in our taxis -- we can't survive without a screen for the length of a car trip, apparently), the featured news programs used to broadcast neighborhood restaurant "reviews." There was a review of a Brazilian restaurant in the borough of Queens that featured a chicken slathered in a garlic- red pepper purée and thrown on the asador as flames leapt up around the chicken parts. We could almost smell and taste it. We started to get hungry. When we got home, I was able to access the segment online and have another look. Since that time, I have made the marinade many times, but numerous searches online have failed to turn up that video, the name of the restaurant, or the recipe. Over time I've added the bay leaves and Aleppo pepper. Fresh bay leaves are completely different from dried and add indescribable flavor. You can follow the recipe for one bird or three and extra purée can be frozen. Well worth a NYC taxi fare!creamtea

Food52 Review: WHO: Creamtea is the mastermind behind all-star recipes like Moroccan Guacamole Toast and Glazed Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza.
WHAT: A roasted chicken recipe inspired by a commercial in a taxi that has us thinking we should take cabs more often.
HOW: Slather a purée of bell peppers, garlic, and fresh bay leaves over whole chickens or chicken parts. Roast in the oven until your chicken is golden-brown and the purée has magically transformed into a sauce.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We would eat this garlic-red pepper purée on just about anything, but it’s irresistible over a perfectly-roasted chicken. The bell peppers and red wine vinegar add balance and depth, but it’s the Aleppo pepper and fresh bay leaves that make it so much more than your standard sauce.
A&M

Serves 12 to 14

  • 2 lemons (optional) if using whole chicken
  • Three 3 1/2 pound chickens, whole or cut-up, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 ripe red bell peppers, medium to large, seeded, quartered, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and coarsely chopped (remove the germ or sprout inside each clove, if desired)
  • 3/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 3 fresh bay leaves, central vein removed and torn into pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, if desired, or a small pinch Cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt or more, according to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F and lightly salt the chicken or parts. If cooking whole birds, place one lemon half per bird inside each cavity and tie together the legs with kitchen twine. Tie another piece of twine around the upper section, including the wings, to promote even cooking.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the next 6 ingredients, from the bell peppers to the Aleppo pepper. Process until puréed, scraping down the sides as necessary
  3. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until incorporated.
  4. For whole chickens: place them breast-side down on the rack of a roasting pan, slather the backs generously with the purée. At this point, you can refrigerate for an hour or so to allow flavors to permeate the chicken.
  5. Spoon the sauce from the bottom of the pan on top of the chicken right before roasting. Pour some water into the roasting pan about 1 inch deep to prevent the sauce from burning. Roast the whole birds in lower third of oven the until backs are browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the chickens breast-side up on rack and slather with more sauce from the bottom of the pan. Return to oven and roast until done, about 45 additional minutes, adding more water to the bottom of pan as needed. You may need to lower the heat to 350º F if the sauce is starting to overcook or burn.
  6. Check for doneness: an instant-read thermometer should read 165º F in the thickest part of the thigh. Pierce the breast meat with a skewer -- juices should run clear -- or hold up the whole birds vertically with a pair of tongs (use care) and allow the juices from cavity to drip into pan. Juices should be clear, not pink.
  7. For chicken parts: If using chicken parts, place them in a roasting pan (or two) in one layer. Slather generously with purée. At this point, you can refrigerate the chicken pieces for an hour or so to allow flavors to permeate. Roast in lower third of oven, lowering temperature to 350º F as necessary, until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer registers 165º F.
  8. Transfer to a heated platter. Pour juices into a fat separator and pour into a pan set over low heat to warm briefly if desired. Carve or divide into parts and serve with pan juices on the side.
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Comments (31) Questions (1)

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3 months ago sansan123

Think I may have come up with a solution to the browning problem but 1st. yummmm. love the marinade though since no fresh bay, used some fresh cilantro. super yumm. followed the recipe up to the last 10 minute of cooking and then whacked it on the kettle bbq. The skin crisped up nicely and the sauce was allowed extra time to reduce on it's own in the oven or you could go stovetop with it.

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3 months ago creamtea

Thanks sansan123, and thanks for trying my recipe! I sometimes brown chicken parts under the broiler the last few mins. (And by the way, if using parts, you don't have to add water to the bottom of the pan, only whole chickens on a roasting rack, to avoid burning). If using whole chickens on a rack, it shouldn't be a problem, it browns perfectly.

Stringio

3 months ago wendy white

I want to try this sauce on boneless skinless chicken breast and serve over cornmeal with side of green beans. Think it would work ?

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3 months ago creamtea

Wendy, I like to get my chicken pieces nice and brown in the oven; you don't want the cutlets to get too dry or tough in the cooking process! Bone-in breasts may work better. But, it's worth a try; it's a delicious sauce/marinade.

Stringio

about 1 month ago wendy white

I made just the sauce and froze it in popsicle molds so I can take out just one at a time. It's great over turkey patties and brown rice. I really love the tartness of the sauce.

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3 months ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Congrats! Sounds fantastic!

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3 months ago creamtea

Thank you, M&M!

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3 months ago THE FUTURE MBA

Merci beaucoup. Et vous aussi!

Bck

3 months ago Bernie

Ah well, chacun à son goût. Bon appetit!

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3 months ago THE FUTURE MBA

I'm an avid picnic goer. I don't understand any of the objections with respect to it being suitable for picnic food. It's classic picnic fare! It's delicious hot or at room temperature. Just make sure you have the right serving pieces - and containers. Try a roomy picnic hamper, containers with tight lids, with the red pepper taxicab chicken, some side dishes dessert and beverages, and you're bound to have a delightful time!

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3 months ago creamtea

I agree, The Future MBA, and it should be noted that there are many container options available nowadays that make it easy to transport. I hope you try my recipe!

Bck

3 months ago Bernie

I agree, Chefjune; looks wonderful and is quite possibly delicious but how well does it work under typical "picnic" conditions?

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3 months ago creamtea

Just pack it up in Pyrex and bring some napkins. If you want to lick your fingers, I won't tell. It's good.

Junechamp

3 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats, creamtea. this looks delicious. but it seems an odd choice for picnic food. Looks like it's kind of messy to eat by hand, and is meant to be served hot. Or did I miss something?

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3 months ago cookbookchick

I tested this recipe, ChefJune, and while the marinade/sauce is delicious and I would rate it a keeper, it is thin and runny and must be served hot. You're right -- not very suitable for a picnic. You'd need to bring the chicken without the sauce. And because the marinade is wet, my chicken did not brown by the time it was done internally. (And yes, I do keep a thermometer in my oven so I know the temp was correct.) But I love the taxi story and kudos to creamtea for being selected as a finalist.

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3 months ago creamtea

June, thanks for the good wishes. I'm pretty fearless when it comes to our annual picnic, and I'll bring anything from bean chili to this chicken dish, well-wrapped. Pyrex is my friend!! :)

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3 months ago creamtea

Thanks cookbookchick for testing my recipe (and, thanks for the kudos!)

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3 months ago cookbookchick

Here is my review, creamtea. I would appreciate your guidance on getting the chicken to brown as beautifully as in your photo. Perhaps I used too much of it? Or..??

Creamtea is right about the fresh bay leaves. They add a subtle but distinct -- and distinctly different -- herbal note to the delicious red pepper marinade/sauce. Don't use dried bay leaves if you decide to make this. While we loved the sauce, using spoons to lap up every last drop from our plates, our chickens did not ever brown by the time they were fully cooked. Also, the marinade is already quite liquid what with the fresh peppers and vinegar -- I did not find it necessary to add much water to the bottom of the pan. Doing so to the extent called for in the recipe (1-2 inches deep) dilutes the sauce too much. The marinade is a keeper that I plan to use as a tasty sauce for other dishes. --cookbookchick

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4 months ago Rachel

Aw, humbug! The only one of the community pick finalists I was stoked to recipe test no longer needs them!

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4 months ago creamtea

Awww thanks Rachel!

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4 months ago cookbookchick

This sounds wonderful -- I'm always looking for something different to do with chicken. Nice to know something good came out of those annoying TV screens in NYC taxis!

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4 months ago creamtea

Oh, thank you, cbc!

Stringio

8 months ago mj.landry

This looks really delicious and different! I always get sucked into the TV's when in NYC taxi's…never was inspired to cook anything though :-)

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8 months ago creamtea

Try it, it's so good (if I do say so myself)!

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over 1 year ago anotherfoodieblogger

This sounds really good! I will have to try this recipe, for sure! I love me some spicy!

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over 1 year ago creamtea

I hope you do!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Harsh isn't on the radar. Raw, nope. I'll call you when in NY.

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over 2 years ago creamtea

I'd love that!

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over 2 years ago creamtea

Thanks, boulangere! Hope you try it! Don't worry if the raw red-pepper puree tastes harsh and unpromising. It'll be good when cooked!

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over 2 years ago creamtea

thanks boulangere! Don't worry if the raw puree tastes harsh and unpromising. It's good!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Ay yi yi! It's clearly worth the price of a plane ticket for a ride in one of your taxis. No telling what I'd learn. This looks amazing, wonderful, beautiful. Sunday tends to be chicken day here, so my menu is set. Thank you!