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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Spice-crusted chicken with dirty rice


Dirty rice is a classic Cajun dish made in a similar style to a pilaf. It's the livers in the rice that lend it a "dirty" appearance: rustic and delicious.

You'll need

4 carrots, thickly sliced 2 leeks (white part only), thickly sliced 1 chicken (1.5kg) 2 tbsp olive oil ½ tsp each sweet paprika, ground coriander and ground cumin ¼ tsp ground white pepper 1 bunch thyme 1 lemon, quartered 6 garlic cloves, bruised To serve: Tabasco and mayonnaise   Dirty rice 2 tbsp olive oil 2 celery stalks, finely diced 1 onion, finely diced 1 green capsicum, finely diced 3 garlic cloves, crushed 4 bacon rashers, diced 150 gm pork and fennel sausage meat (about 1 large sausage), removed from skin and coarsely crumbled 400 gm (2 cups) long-grain rice 300 gm chicken livers, trimmed and diced 700 ml chicken stock

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter carrot and leek in a roasting pan, place chicken on top, brush with oil, then season with spices and sea salt. Tear thyme and place in the cavity with lemon and garlic, secure cavity with a skewer, tuck in wings and roast until chicken is cooked through (1¼-1½ hours). Set aside to rest (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for dirty rice, heat oil in a saucepan over high heat, add celery, onion, capsicum and garlic and stir occasionally over medium-high heat until golden (8-10 minutes). Add bacon and sausage meat and stir to combine and break up sausage (2-4 minutes). Add rice and liver, stir to combine, then season to taste. Add stock, bring to the simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (13-15 minutes). Remove lid and remove pan from heat, then cover with a tea towel and set aside to rest (5-10 minutes).
  • 03
  • Carve chicken, then serve with pan vegetables, dirty rice, Tabasco and mayonnaise.

Note Allow plenty of time to rest meat so the proteins relax and the juices settle. It really makes the difference for a juicy, tender result. Cover the meat loosely with foil (unless it has crackling, which would lose its crunch) and rest it in a warm place. Large cuts of beef, veal and pork need around 30 minutes, chicken 15 minutes and fish 5-10 minutes.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Super-hoppy American IPA

Featured in

Jun 2013

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