I have been wooed by black cardamom. While both types of cardamom are uniquely aromatic, black cardamom pods have a heady, smoky quality that is difficult to describe or forget. I thought that braising would capture its essence. Jamie Oliver has an amazing chicken recipe that involves cooking a whole chicken in a mixture of milk, lemon zest, garlic and sage leaves. The resulting chicken is incredibly moist and flavorful. Changing up the ingredients, and keeping the lid on for the first 45 minutes concentrates the smoky black cardamom, the subtly spiced ginger, and fragrant orange into a surprisingly delicately flavored chicken that is moist and delicious. Cream rounds out the sauce while cilantro adds fresh brightness. —gingerroot
3 to 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, preferably organic
sSea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
ginger, peeled, cut into four pieces, and smashed with handle of knife (2-inches)
Adjust oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat to 375° F.
Rinse chicken, removing giblets and neck; reserve giblets for another use. Pat chicken and neck dry with a paper towel and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Trim excess fat if necessary (around neck cavity especially).
Over medium-high heat, melt butter and a glug of olive oil in a cast-iron enamel Dutch oven that's slightly bigger than the chicken. Once foam subsides, add chicken and neck and carefully cook on all sides until golden.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Carefully pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Either discard fat or reserve it for another use. Return chicken into pot, along with ginger, black cardamom, coriander, orange zest, and chicken stock. Cover pot with lid and place in oven for 45 minutes, basting chicken once halfway through. After 45 minutes, remove lid and cook chicken for 25 to 35 additional minutes, until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165° F.
Remove from oven. Take chicken out and allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Discard neck. Meanwhile, place Dutch oven on stovetop and whisk in cream and cilantro.
Carve chicken and transfer to a serving platter. Generously spoon sauce over chicken pieces and serve. Enjoy! Note: Remaining sauce can be transferred to a gravy boat and enjoyed over rice or mashed potatoes alongside the chicken.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.