Food pairings have always been important and many are time honoured local knowledge within every culture and ethnicity. Italians put tomato and basil together; the French pair steak with frites (and most of the western world agrees) and everyone agrees that lemon and fish are a marriage made in heaven.
Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria took great combo’s sinto the lab and extrapolated happy couples out to ‘food families’, groups of foods that work well together, sometimes-obvious combo’s and some that might surprise you.
Those of us who cook frequently will have our favourites but it’s always fun to expand the culinary horizon. Travelling, reading, exploring markets, talking to other cooks all helps and so does a lazy weekend spent playing around with ingredients you know but haven’t yet put together. And if it doesn’t work, dial a pizza!
Today we’ve paired cinnamon with chicken. It’s not your average coupling but you’ll find it in Mexican and some Asian cuisines.
We’ve used a salt-cinnamon rub over the chicken then roasted it until its golden brown.
We’ve also sprinkled it over chunks of pumpkin and served it with a sweet-salty balancing sauce of chimmichurri, a tangy healthful salsa that we paint over the just-roasted skin then serve as a blob over the rest of the dish.
CINNAMON ROASTED CHICKEN AND PUMPKIN
- 4 chicken marylands, skin-on
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled
- lemon thyme and olive oil for roasting
Mix cinnamon and salt together and place in a snap lock bag. Add the chicken, seal and shake vigorously to coat.
Place pumpkin, garlic and chicken in a baking dish, sprinkle with oil and thyme. Place in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.
- 1 bunch oregano, bottom of the stems removed
- 1 bunch parsley, bottom of the stems removed
- ½ bunch coriander, bottom of the stems removed
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/8 tsp
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes or 1-2 fresh chillies (depending on how hot you like it)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Sea salt
Place all ingredients except oil in the bowl of a food processor and process until chopped. With the blender still going, gradually add oil in a slow stream until all oil is incorporated. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, will last 2-3 days in the fridge.
To serve: paint chicken with a light coating of chimmichurri then serve on to heated plates. Pair with pumpkin and a healthy dollop of salsa and some fresh green leaves.
FUN FOOD PAIRING FACT
(say that out loud after a couple of glasses of wine!)
Check out foodpairing.com for a scientific but enlightening way to expand your culinary repertoire.