Tea Smoked Split Chicken with Mint Pesto
1 large naturally raised chicken, split in half, off of rib cage, brined overnight*
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup lapsang suchong tea
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of Wanjashan organic soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch mint
½ cup toasted pine nuts
canola oil to cook
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Banana leaf or Napa cabbage leaf for steamer
Prepare a foil lined wok on low heat. Mix the rice, tea and sugar and bring to a low smoldering so tea starts smoking. In a small bowl combine the honey and soy sauce to create a glaze. Place brined chicken on banana leaf or Napa cabbage leaf in bamboo steamer and place on wok, using 2 levels if needed. Brush each chicken halve with honey-soy glaze. Cover steamer. Take moistened rag and seal around the steamer to seal. Smoke for 10 minutes then turn wok off and smoke for an additional 15 minutes. Then, remove steamer and foil from wok. Add enough canola oil to the wok to fry the chicken. Bring oil to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend the garlic, mint and nuts and add extra virgin olive oil. Season and check. When oil is heated, fry chicken skin side down for 8 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until internal temp is 160 degrees. Serve chicken halves with pesto.
* Brine method: Use sweet sea water ratio: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt to 1 quart water, multiply as necessary to fully submerge chicken in a large container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Soju Sweet Tea