My friend Lela is an amazing cook, and she’s also an amazing cooking teacher. If you are lucky enough to get a spot in one of her classes (An Inspired Kitchen), you should know enough to fast the few days before the class. Lela cooks and prepares, you watch and take notes, and then you eat, and eat (and drink, there are always libations), and eat, and eat. The table is set in Downton Abbey style–fit for nobility, and the meal goes from soup to nuts. It is food heaven! One of my favorite themed classes is Lela’s BBQ class. This Thai Chicken is from that class. The ingredient list is long (many ingredients can be found in most Asian markets), but once the marinade is mixed together, the recipe is a cinch.
Grilled Thai Chicken
(from An Inspired Kitchen and Fine Cooking Magazine)
6 large chicken breasts (or 8 smaller ones), bone in
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 small serrano chilies, minced (wear gloves)
4 green onions, minced
1/2c. minced cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime rind
juice from 2 limes
1/2c. Chinese Black Bean Sauce or paste
1/4c. hoisin sauce
1/4c. red wine vinegar (I use balsamic)
1/4c. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1/4c. minced lemongrass
Combine all Marinade ingredients in a blender and puree until just combined (should be slightly chunky, not smooth). Dislodge skin from chicken meat, but leave skin on the periphery intact.
Spoon about 1/8 of the marinade under the skin of each piece of chicken. Arrange the chicken breasts in a nonreactive baking dish or other vessel large enough to accommodate them in a snug single layer. Pour a small amount of remaining marinade over the breasts and turn to coat them well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours max. Bring remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and set aside.
Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking. Heat the grill to medium-high and spray with non-stick spray. Grill chicken, basting frequently with the boiled marinade and turning frequently until the juices run clear when pierced. (This could take up to 20 minutes.)
Boil remaining Marinade once again and serve with grilled chicken.