I wanted to do a roasted chicken, but as that’s on the boring side of weekend culinary activities I also wanted to spice things up a bit (ugh, I just vomited in my mouth…Why do I suddenly sound like someone from the Food Network?)
Somehow I settled on the idea of a roasted chicken with miso, which is not a “miso-roasted chicken” because the point was to incorporate both the usual flavors of a roasted chicken with those you’d expect from a miso dish. To me “miso-roasted” would be something that involves basically making a miso marinade and dunking the -insert meat here- in it.
Eight minutes into this thought process I decided I had invented the idea. A quick recipe search revealed otherwise. It turns out a ton of other amateur chefs have incorporated miso and chicken, but they all seem to settle on chicken pieces. It’s as if their aim was to take Asian chicken wings and extrapolate them upwards, rather than start with a typical roasted chicken and hybridize. I couldn’t find a recipe involving a whole chicken.
You’re welcome, folks.
First of all, we have the usual chicken suspects: beer can, citrus, French herbs, salt, pepper, and butter. Usually the citrus is lemon, but as I thought more about the miso I instead went with orange, because I wanted something sweeter. Typically, I make a compound butter that incorporates the dry elements (salt, pepper, herbs) and then just smother the shit out of the bird. This time, I started with the miso and made a loose paste, which included the above plus: equal parts honey and miso, a little mirin, a little soy, a little orange juice, and of course butter.
Were I to redo this recipe again, I’d alter the paste to make it thicker. Perhaps I should have started with the butter and slowly incorporated the wet ingredients slowly with a whisk, so as to emulsify rather than coarsely mix.
Because there were so many sugary elements, I wanted to keep the temperature very low. Though my shitty oven varies its temperature upwards of 100 degrees at any given moment, I set it at 275 and checked the chicken every thirty minutes. To my delight, it required very little basting. I saved some of the paste expressly for that purpose, but because it was a paste and not a liquid it didn’t go very far. I thus broke out the chicken stock for the second and third bastings. I don’t recall the exact time required to finish the chicken, and clearly your results will vary, but by the time the internal temperature of one of the legs reached 150 degrees probably 2 hours had gone by. I covered the bird in foil and allowed it to cook a further thirty or so minutes until the thermometer read 160 degrees, at which point I turned the oven off but left the bird in until I was ready to cut it.
I won’t go in detail how this gravy was made, but I will say that it was extremely helpful to start the cooking process hours earlier by very slowly simmering a huge amount of store-bought stock on the stove until it was reduced by at least two-thirds. Rather than hastily throwing together a sauce after the chicken’s done, it’s nice to have what amounts to a half-way finished sauce (just in need of flavorings and further reduction) ready to go. Is there a word for in between liquid and demi-glace?
Side note: Miso needs to be refridgerated, but in that form it’s nearly impossible to use. I typically put however much I’m using into a pyrex with a tiny amount of water, microwave that for a couple of seconds until just warm, and then mix. It’s usually still pasty enough, and obviously I add more water if I’m adjusting the consistency for say a soup. In the case of this recipe I let the miso warm to room temperature, because it was the last of the box.
P.S. Why is the chicken being raped by a can of V8? Because I bought tall beer cans and later realized they dwarfed the chicken and my tiny oven.