Baked Chicken

This is a simple and delicious way to make chicken that you'd never think to make. The recipe comes from Drey Roxas, a Philippino chef for Palencia, in San Francisco.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 bulb of garlic, preferably peeled & crushed, but you could just chop or crush it to pieces with skins on
1 onion, chopped
the juice from one lemon (save the lemon pieces for later)
about a 1/2 cup of Sprite or 7-UP
about a teaspoon of pepper
about 3 stalks of lemon grass (you can find these in the veggie section of any grocery store nowadays, and they're cheap)

a 3 to 5 lb chicken

Here's how it works:

Throw all the ingredients (except the lemon grass) into a big tub of some kind and mix everything together. Clean the chicken and put it into the mixture, cover the tub with lid or saran wrap and put it in the fridge for 1-3 hours. You're going to marinate (practically brine) the chicken in this concoction for anywhere from 1-3 hours. Be careful not to let it sit in the marinade too long because the soy sauce has a high salt content and chicken is a tender meat and will absorb too much salt. 3 hours for a normal sized chicken is about right. Less marinating time is ok too.

After about 3 hours, remove the chicken from the marinade and blot dry with paper towels. Dispose of the marinade, you don't need that any more. Take the lemon grass and chop it into inch long pieces and stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon grass and leftover lemon pieces that you used earlier. Season the chicken with pepper all over.

Put the chicken on a greased rack or pan (with some aluminum foil at the bottom), and cook it for about 1.5 hours at about 325-350. (The reason for aluminum foil at the bottom of the pan is because the marinade had sugar in it, and that'll probably burn the bottom of the pan and make cleaning the pan a big pain, unless you have children, in which case, let them do the dishes.)
If you have a meat thermometer, put it into the thickest part of the thigh and wait till it registers about 160 or higher. 1.5 hours should do the job for a 4lb chicken. You don't need a meat thermometer, but it helps.

Try this recipe out. You won't be disappointed. It's easy and delicious. It makes great leftovers. And your family will say, "This is the best chicken I've ever eaten! I didn't know you could cook! How did you make this?", and you can say, "With 7-UP."