Grilled Bird with Red Curry & Coconut

August 3, 2009

If God grants me longer life, I will see to it that no peasant in my kingdom will lack the means to have a chicken in the pot every Sunday.
~Henri IV, King of France, from 1589 to 1610 (le bon roi Henri)

Despite popular conception, Herbert Hoover never uttered this 17th century phrase—however, the GOP did appropriate the slogan for his 1928 presidential campaign, touting a period of booming prosperity that would provide a “chicken in every pot.” (And a “car in every backyard,” to boot.) And then depression set in…


6 chicken leg thigh quarters

1/4 canola oil
1/2 cup shallots, peeled and finely chopped shallots
4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 t fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 T Thai red curry paste
2 (14 oz) cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 fresh limes, halved and juiced
3 t packed light brown sugar
Sea salt
2 t Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam nhi)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook shallots in oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not quite browned, about 4 minutes or so. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, mashing paste to combine with oil and stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in fish sauce and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups marinade in a bowl and chill, covered.

Trim and discard any excess fat from chicken, then rinse and pat dry. Coat chicken well with remaining curry sauce in a large bowl, Place chicken in large flat dish and pour marinade over, turning to coat liberally—or divide birds between large sealable plastic bags. Marinate chicken, chilled, overnight.

Let chicken stand at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare charcoal grill for cooking over medium (to medium high) heat.

Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess, and transfer to a large platter. Discard marinade. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then grill, starting with skin sides down, turning occasionally to prevent overbrowning, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes total. Brush chicken with marinade toward the end of the grilling process.

Heat reserved marinade in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until hot. Remove and transfer to platter or plates. Serve with curry sauce and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.


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