Oh hey, so. It’s the middle of winter. This is not a delicate season — especially for all of you East Coast faces. (Stay strong, you swarthy, hardy ladies and gents.)
Mid-winter, we do what we have to do to keep our spirits up, and most of us can’t live on whiskey. That’s where other tactics come in handy, like saying, “To hell with the 100-mile radius. I can’t feel my toes and I want tropical fruity goodness in my belly and is that TOO MUCH TO ASK?”
When it comes to winter fruit, citrus is typically all we have. It’s a beautiful little family of produce, but winter also seems to bring cravings of the variety we’re missing in the leaner months. Mangoes, pineapple, and coconut may be calling your name too, and these beauties are not just for blended drinks.
This particular dish combines everything I’m into lately: the simple comfort of roasted chicken with crispy skin, a fresh heat from serrano peppers, and juicy, sweet pineapple, all nestled in a pile of fluffy, lightly fried rice. Baby, you got yourself a righteous dinner right there.
For some reason, in my early days of cooking, I was hesitant about hotter-than-average heat, but it’s the key to so many wonderful things. Without question, a quick char on a blazing grill or in a cast iron skillet (watch that smoke alarm) makes the best skirt steak tacos. I recently learned from Greg that frying at hotter temperatures results in less greasy food, too. And let’s not even think about making pizza without cranking up the oven as high as it will go.
What can I say? Some like it hot, and skin-on chicken is no different.
As for the rice, your big secret weapon is rinsing it well, before and after cooking. Secret, that is, unless you’re smarter than I and know this already, which is very likely. In any case, getting rid of excess starch will keep it from sticking together, which is desirable in some situations but would be annoying here.
Of course, you might be too jazzed about your perfect chicken to be annoyed. Nothing can get to you. You’re too busy dominating, uh, everything. Tough gig, but someone has to do it.
Good job making it past the hump day of winter, everyone. I’m too lazy to pull up a calendar, but I’m sure we’re there. High-fives all around!
- 1 lb skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 large ones)
- 2 tablespoons red or yellow miso paste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup jasmine or basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, (seeds and membrane removed if you prefer less spicy food) minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste if desired
- Pat dry the chicken completely. Combine miso, sesame oil, mirin, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl and rub into the chicken. Wrap chicken in plastic tightly and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour or two.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roast the chicken in preheated oven until cooked through and deep golden, 30-35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the rice, rinse the rice in hot water several times. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan, then add rice. Bring to simmer and turn down the heat. Simmer rice, without stirring, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender, 15-20 minutes. Rinse with hot water and drain.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large saucepan. Add pineapple chunks and cook, stirring occasionally, until pineapple begins to caramelize in places. Add serrano pepper and cook for 30 seconds more or so, then add the drained rice, stirring until well combined and heated through. Season with soy sauce, and serve alongside chicken. Serves 2 generously.