Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken with Fish Sauce
VIETNAMESE LEMONGRASS CHICKEN WITH FISH SAUCE SERVES 6
If there’s one dish that’s landing with regularity on busy weeknight dinner tables from coast to coast, it’s roast chicken. This Vietnamese version can sit overnight or up to 24 hours in a marinade of fermented fish sauce and lemongrass and is ready to pop into the oven as soon as you get home from work. In Vietnam, lemongrass is typically used as an aromatic and is simmered in soups and stews, but this recipe calls for finely chopping the lemongrass to bring out its incredible fragrance and to add texture to the chicken. I like to arrange seasonal vegetables (like quartered artichokes and carrots in the spring, and parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes in the fall) underneath the chicken in the pan so they can soak up the caramelized juices while roasting.
2 to 3 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and finely chopped (about ¾ cup chopped)
4 medium shallots, chopped
¼ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 whole chicken (3 ½ to 4 pounds)
1 pound assorted seasonal vegetables (see headnote)
In a small bowl, combine the lemongrass, shallots, fish sauce, sea salt, and sugar. Place the chicken in a large dish. Spread the lemongrass marinade evenly over the chicken, tucking any excess into its cavity. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When you are ready to cook it, bring the chicken to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Scatter the vegetables in a large roasting pan or cast-iron skillet. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of the vegetables. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Then turn the chicken over so it is breast side up and spoon the pan juices over the top. Roast for 1 hour, until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180°F on an instant-read thermometer. (If the skin starts to char, cover the chicken with aluminum foil. You can also add a little water to the pan if the pan juices start to burn.) Remove the chicken and let it cool slightly before carving. Serve with the vegetables on the side.