Smoked Crispy Chicken and Watermelon Salad

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This is a very impressive dinner party starter: light and refreshing, smoky and sweet. I got a smoker for my birthday so I’m like a kid in the toy shop with it, but if you don’t have a smoker, this works just as well without: just cook the chicken in the oven at 180C/Gas 4 for 40 mins until the juices run clear and the skin is crispy.

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs, skin on

½ watermelon, chilled and cut into 2cm cubes

Seeds from 1 pomegranate

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped

½ bunch mint, leaves only, torn

2 long red chillies, seeds removed, sliced

Juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

½ tsp Szechuan pepper, ground

1. Place 2 tbsp hickory wood chips in a Camerons smoker. Put the drip tray over the chips, then a wire rack over the drip tray. Place the chicken thighs on the wire rack.

2. Place the smoker on the hob and cook over a medium heat for around 40 mins, until the chicken is smoked and cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

4. When the chicken is cooked, transfer the rack and drip tray to the oven to crisp up the skin, for approx. 10 mins.

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5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before flaking the skin and meat from the bone with two forks.

6. To make the salad, place the watermelon, pomegranate, coriander, mint and chillies in a large mixing bowl and pour over the lime, sauces and peppers, then add the flaked chicken.

7. Toss together and serve warm as a fantastic starter.

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