12th Century Byzantine Chicken

Ancient Greek Hollywood
Version 3 for 2022

This invented dish of the 12th century contains ‘subtleties’ - ingredients that provoke guests to talk about ports, places of origin, general trade of such food. In this case, matters of the Mediterranean Sea using three kinds of dark pepper spices and five types of olives. What would be unusual is this is chicken and not a game bird. Chicken is mild and shows your spices more strongly. It speaks, ‘I am a merchant of the seas, I am in the pepper.’
1 large chicken, at least 4 pounds, jointed

resurrection mix:
1/4 cup Spanish green olives, brined, pitted
1/4 cup small Picholine green olives, brined, pitted
1/4 cup Castelvetrano or other large Sicilian green olives, brined, pits in
1/4 cup large Calabrese green olives, well-brined, pits in
1/4 cup small Nicoise black olives, brined, pits in
1/4 cup olive oil
30 dried green cardamom pods
1 dried bay leaf
6 fresh bay leaves

concoction mass:
1/4 head garlic, peeled, cut to puree
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (like Baleine Sel De Mar or other Bretagne salt)
1 teaspoon just ground black cone pepper (Roman Indian pepper)
3/4 teaspoon crushed grains of paradise (African pepper)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pitted dried plums (prunes), at least one per guest
3 tablespoons capers with juice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup honey

benediction of grace:
2 tablespoons parsley, ideally cut into Greek Cross forms
1 Preparation. Before the day of the feast, begin the resurrection of the olives by rinsing them of their brine, except the Calabrese or any fruitier tasting ones. In small crockery, put all olives with olive oil. Stir in circles twelve times.

2 In a stone mortar put 30 green cardamom pods. With a stone pestle, crush off the shell to release the black seeds. Discard shells. It should yield 3/4 teaspoon of seeds. Lay dried bay leaf on top of black seeds. Crush leaf onto seeds until seeds show their whiteness, making sure the bay leaf blankets them. Pulverize, infusing the bay with the sweet spirit of seed. When the bay leaf is a skeleton, you are done. Pour it all into the olives crockery. Stir in crosses twelve times twelve times.

3 Anoint each fresh bay leaf, rubbing with a bit of olive oil. Add them to olive crockery. Stir twelve times.

4 In a large crock, combine chicken, garlic, oregano, salt, half the pepper, red wine vinegar, prunes, and capers. Add the aforementioned olive-bay melange. Coat the fowl generously, stirring the pot twelve times.

5 Cover concoction and keep ice-box cool overnight. I should have mentioned this earlier, but it you have no facility, begin it all on the morning of the feast.

6 Day of Feast. Heat oven near bread baking temperature, 375°F.

7 Use a large baking pan and space out chicken pieces. Pour marinade evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle grains of paradise evenly.

8 Drizzle on wine, then honey.

9 Bake 30 minutes, basting with pan juices every 10 minutes.

10 Drop temperature to 350°F. Sprinkle a small amount of cracked black pepper. Baste. Cook 15 minutes until honey is golden but not blackened. Light the palace candles.

11 Pour off the pan juices into a sauceboat.

12 No recipe calls itself Byzantine without at least twelve steps. Garnish with artfully cut parsley. Serve on a solid gold plate with Joanna's Jeweled Rice.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 4-6 Servings

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