Photo credit: Nuno Correia
The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here.
Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.
We’re in the middle of Passover week, and if you’re like me, you’re itching to get a little creative with your weeknight cooking. Leave it to David Leite, author of The New Portuguese Table and publisher of Leite’s Culinaria, to spice up our regular roast chicken with a fabulous homemade Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste. It’s sort of like a Portuguese version of harissa. The red wine and smoked paprika make it truly special. Smother a roast chicken and potatoes with this stuff, and holy moly, that’s dinner! Who says Portuguese and Passover don’t mix? I have the utmost respect for David’s well tested recipes and witty, intelligent writing. Be sure to head over to Leite’s Culinaria when you’re done checking out this recipe for more spectacular ideas. ~ Tori
You’re probably wondering: What’s a nice goyem boy doing in a Jewish place like this? And that’s understandable. After all, I’m a first-and-a-half generation Portuguese American (Poppa Leite is from The Azores, Portugal, and Momma Leite was born in the States to two Portuguese emigrants.) Because of the surprising social similarities between Jewish and Portuguese cultures, I have been named an Honorary Jew by my circle of Jewish friends. That meant I was invited to a goodly number of Passover Seders. And being the youngest at the table, I always got to ask the Four Questions. But, of course, time marches on and soon my friends’ kids and their families began joining us at the table, and I reluctantly passed the torched.
My late friend Deborah, always told me that it was my duty as an Honorary Jew to have many dishes in my repertoire, including a brisket and a roast chicken. While I’m still working on my brisket, I have the chicken down pat.
This chicken recipe leans upon classic Portuguese flavors, supplied by the Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste (click here for recipe), which my friends call “Portugal in a Jar.” It includes smoked paprika, wine, garlic, tomato paste, parsley, cilantro, and more. It’s rubbed under and over the skin for a deeply colored and flavored bird. Plus the roast potatoes get an extra kick from the paste and the chicken drippings. Oy, it’s a shonda that I can’t have some right this minute.
Tip: to really save time and maximize flavor, prepare the bird the night before and refrigerate it. When you get home from work the next day, toss the potatoes in the paste, and slide the bird and potatoes into the oven.
Recipe courtesy of David Leite, The New Portuguese Table. Clarkson Potter (c) 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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- Position the rack to the center of the oven and crank the heat to 425°F.
- Discard excess fat from inside the cavity of the chicken and reserve the giblets for another use. Pat the bird dry, then carefully wiggle your fingers under the skin to release it from the meat--the breast, legs, and back--being mindful not to rip it. Spoon 5 tablespoons of the red-pepper paste into a cup and, using your fingers, smear 4 tablespoons under the skin and in the cavity. Smear the remaining tablespoon over the entire bird. (Sometimes I go to town and smear on more paste.) Tie the legs together with twine and tuck under the wing tips. Place the chicken breast-side down on a V-rack inside a foil-lined roasting pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup of the red-pepper paste and the oil, season with salt and pepper, and scatter them in the pan under the chicken. Roast the bird for 35 minutes, then using tongs turn breast-side up. Toss the potatoes well to coat with the drippings. Baste the breast lightly with a bit more of the paste. Lower the heat to 350°F, and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, 50 minutes to 1 hour more, longer if the chicken came from the refrigerator.
- Remove the bird, tent with foil, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. If the potatoes aren't tender, toss again, bump up the oven to 450°F, and continue roasting while the bird rests.