Sichuan Peppercorn Chicken

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A clumsy ode to Spice Temple’s heavenly facing chilli and sichuan peppercorn dish.

Since eating at Spice Temple a month ago I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those feisty little peppercorns. I was chatting to a friend of mine on the phone the other night while cooking this so it got a little more crispy than intended but it just added to the intensity of flavour on the skin. Tongue numbing, aromatic, mouth watering.

I have seen Kylie Kwong toast sichuan peppercorns with sea salt in a hot pan until aromatic and then grind them up to a powder in a mortar and pestle. This is essentially what I did and then added a little smoky paprika and sugar and rubbed it into the skin of an organic chicken, added a little oil to the bird with a few cloves of unpeeled garlic inside and whacked it in a hot oven. Oh, and I threw in a few dutch cream potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks. I normally go for 220°C fan forced, 20 minutes each on its side, on its other side and on its back. I sound like Samantha from SATC.

The end result is a moist chicken with a crispy skin, with potatoes that taste more like wedges as they have absorbed all the chickeny goodness and are lightly flavoured with sichuan.

Next step is to try this with quail, or maybe duck…and I don’t think it needs the smoky paprika or sugar.

Just to stress the point, this is a roast that takes just an hour to cook, plus preparation time. So maybe realistic for a weeknight when you don’t get home too late.

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