Saturday, April 21, 2012

Acme's New Mexican Rub for "Roadrunner" (Chicken)

I was a big fan of Looney Tunes as a kid.  (Actually, I still am a big fan of the show.)  I love watching the whole crew ... Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky the Pig, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.  Recently, however, the last two characters got caught up in a recipe that I was thinking about.  The Roadrunner always outwitted the hapless Wile E. Coyote, whose odd contraptions for catching the elusive bird invariably backfired and left the predator in pain.  Why not make a recipe "inspired" by both Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.

My mind went to work like one of Coyote's Rube Goldberg-inspired contraptions.  It went something like this: Roadrunners are the state bird of New Mexico.  The State of New Mexico is known for its Hatch chiles.  I have pounds of ground Hatch chiles in our cupboard.  The chiles have varying degrees of piquancy.   I could add some of each different chile in succession.  I also then add other base rub ingredients -- like paprika, ground garlic, ground onion, salt and pepper -- to create a spice mix.  I could then apply that mix to the bird using melted butter.

I envisioned the end result, a New Mexican chile rub, as something that Wile E. Coyote would have purchased from Acme when the "Genius" thought about what he would do when he caught the Roadrunner.  Wile E. Coyote would baste the Roadrunner with the rub and grill/roast/broil the bird.  After removing the bird from the heat and putting it on a platter, the Coyote would sit down at a table, tie the bib around his neck, grab his fork and knife and dig in to the enticing meat.  As he chewed the first bite, steam slowly would leak out of his ears and quickly followed by flames shooting out of his mouth.  Once again, Acme would let down the Coyote, allowing the Roadrunner to burn Wile E. Coyote, "Genius," one last time.


ACME'S NEW MEXICAN RUB FOR "ROADRUNNER"
(CHICKEN)
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 chicken quarters (thighs and legs)
1 teaspoon of ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon of ground garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground Hatch red chile (mild)
1/2 teaspoon of ground Hatch green chile (hot)
1/4 teaspoon of ground Hatch red chile (very hot)
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Prepare the rub.  Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Melt the butter and add the spice mix until the consistency is that of a wet rub.  Apply the spice mix/butter to all sides of the chicken, including under the skin.  

2.  Bake/broil the chicken.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for twenty minutes.  Flip the chicken and cook for fifteen minutes more.  Finish the chicken by placing the chicken under the broiler, skin side up, for three to five minutes or until the chicken skin is crispy and browned.

Just a few remaining thoughts.  If you want to grill the chicken, I would suggest using olive oil instead of butter.  I would also make the consistency of spice mix more like a liquid paste than a wet rub.  Also, while this recipe calls for three different chiles, the end result is very spicy.  It was the right level of piquancy for me (no smoke or flames), but it may be a little too spicy for others.  You can always add a little less of the ground chiles (and a little more paprika) to tone down the heat of the recipe.

Finally, the disclaimer.  The Roadrunner is only the inspiration for the dish.  Do NOT attempt to go hunt an actual roadrunner for this recipe. I say this for two reasons.  First, you are not Wile E. Coyote. If you have any doubts, just look in the mirror.  Second, Federal law protects roadrunners (Geococcyx Califorianus) and makes it illegal to hunt the bird.  If you want to hunt something, track down organic, hormone free, cage-free chicken at your local grocery store.   

 PAIRING THIS RECIPE

For this recipe, the best pairing is with beer.  Personally, I enjoyed the chicken with a pale ale, which is probably the best beer to have with this dish.

D.C. Brau -- The Public Pale
American Pale Ale
Washington, D.C., USA
Flavors are balanced hop and malts, with some citrus

ENJOY!

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