Fiery persimmon chicken

persimmons.jpg

Thanksgiving dinner was a big, rich, traditional affair, followed Friday by pizza and Saturday by dim sum, all of which left me craving nothing more than fresh, bright flavors with a minimum of fat by Sunday. Because dim sum was preceded by a stockpiling expedition to the Asian market, I had big, new jars of sauces whose expiration dates hadn’t passed who-knows-when calling out to me and a recipe from Cookthink that served as inspiration for that light meal I was craving.

For our Sunday dinner, I brined a chicken in kosher salt and brown sugar for a few hours, rinsed and dried it, then marinated it for about 30 minutes in a mixture of sambal oelek, dark honey, and heroic amounts of garlic. In the meantime, I halved a two stalks of celery and laid them out in a roasting pan with two carrot sticks, half of a red onion, and some peeled, chopped fuyu persimmon. Just before I put the bird in the oven (at 500 degrees for an hour), I stuffed the cavity with the remaining half of the red onion and another peeled and chopped persimmon.

Because the chicken was so moist from the brining, I didn’t need to add any water at all to the pan, but did tent it with foil about 30 minutes in to keep the honey in the marinade from burning the skin to a crisp. The chicken was succulent again, but the real star was the persimmon chunks, which picked up just enough chicken flavor to add savory to their list of qualities, but almost no fat and definitely no greasy feel. I served the chicken and persimmon with a little fresh sambal and nothing more on the side than boiled greens topped with a little sesame oil and sea salt and felt nearly virtuous after our weekend of gorging and lounging.

Last night, I wanted to use some of the leftover chicken, so I threw together a quick soup when I got home. I sautéed a thinly sliced stalk of celery with a clove of minced garlic for a few minutes, then added enough chicken broth to the pot to make about four servings of soup. (Sorry, no measurements — I just eyeballed it.) I shredded the remaining chicken breast and added that to the pot, brought it to a boil, and lowered the heat to simmer. While those flavors were melding, I chopped a package of baby mustard greens and added them about 15 minutes later, letting them cook down for a few minutes before adding the final ingredients — chopped green onion, parsley, and celery leaves, about a tablespoon of Korean red pepper paste, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

The soup was more green than gold, which suited me fine. More vegetables, please! Oh, and a gym, if you don’t mind.

soup1.jpg

Posting will be light for the rest of the week, but will pick up again this Saturday, when I unveil my brand new project! You’re on the edge of your seat, I can tell.