“A Mentor’s Meal”
To see the entire seven course meal menu please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu -“A Mentor’s Meal”
Tea infused anything just sounds delicious. We’ve been tea fanatics since forever. Even though drinking cha (chai to the Western World) is like drinking water in my side of the household, a more refined tea palate comes from your East Asian side. And those are the teas that are best used for infusing and flavoring food. There are so many teas out there! Explore them all and play with their flavors as to how they work with food. And just like all food, there is a level of quality when it comes to tea. Your Nani (maternal grandmother) once was standing in a tea shop and they had her taste a tea that cost $80 a pound. Which I thought was really funny because she immediately said “Oh that’s for Oprah” upon hearing the price.A month later Oprah came out with a tea from that same company that uses a variety of that tea. Go figure. But over the years we have also gotten tea as a gift from Taiwan or from people wandering through Chinatown. And some of these teas are just amazing.
Back to the dish, this dish was one that your dad found on a Chinese news website and they had a video of how to make this dish that translated to “Roasted Lemon Black Tea Chicken”. Translation is sometimes wonky. So I renamed it to Tea Infused Lemon Chicken. Which makes better sense because the chicken is brined with a tea mixture and then roasted with lemons. So delicious. We also tweaked it by using Earl Grey tea because we thought that the bergamot would add to the flavors. But remember to give yourself ample time to brine the meat. That is what is going to make the flavor be distinct and allow the flavor of the chicken to blend with the tea. This is the only dish for this meal that you could do ahead of time but I don’t suggest leaving it in the oven too long because it will dry out and then you’ll be sad. So you can brine longer if need be but get it to the oven closer to dinner time.
Tea Infused Lemon Chicken
Serves 4 as part of a seven course meal
4 Bone In Chicken Thighs
4 Earl Grey tea bags
3 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Salt
1 Lemon Sliced
1/4 Cup Honey
Black Pepper to Taste
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Remove from heat and add the tea bags, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve and mix. Allow it to cool. Place the chicken into the brine and let it sit overnight. You can do 4-6 hours if you’re short on time. But the flavor just goes in deeper if its overnight. Preheat your oven to 482 degrees fahrenheit. Yes you read right, 482 degrees. If you don’t have a complex oven that allows you to detail the time then go for 250 degrees celsius or aim for somewhere between 450 and 500 degrees fahrenheit. Make sure the oven has been at that temp for ten minutes before you put the chicken in. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the brined chicken a few inches apart, bone side down. Put slices of lemon over each piece. Roast the chicken in the oven for fifteen minutes. Take the lemon slices off and flip the chicken and then put the lemon slices back on top. Roast for another fifteen minutes. Flip the chicken back over and using a basting brush, brush honey on top of each piece. Place it back in the oven for two minutes. If you have to keep it in the oven longer because its not time to serve, then keep it in a warm oven but keep basting it with the honey periodically. Serve hot accompanied by vegetables in gravy.
We served it with some bok choy in a light garlic sauce. It worked so well! The chicken was so nicely flavored between the tea and the lemon. There was a caramel like crust from the honey basted on top. And with the greens and the garlic, it was just such a perfect bite.