Coconut Milk Marinated Chicken: Rest

I told my kids for Mother’s Day that my one wish was to watch movies of my choosing with them. I refused breakfast in bed, dinner at night, elaborate presents, flowers, chocolate and instead said two movie dates were all I wanted. While they were initially relieved that my demands were so mellow, upon hearing the two movies I wanted to see, Little Women and Knives Out, they had quite a bit to say about it. “Mom – are those movies in appropriate for kids our age?” and “I don’t like scary movies” and “Those old-fashioned movies are boring” and “What will we have for snacks?”
I calmly insisted on the two movies of my choosing and with some mild reluctance, the stage was set. On Mother’s Day, in particular, I thought the evening was memorable.  The kids did make me a simple brunch plate, but I cooked all morning in order to have dinner ready so that movie time could be bowls of bibimbap in front of the TV, in addition to our snacks. Once I sat down, I didn’t move for the next four hours.  The kids brought me my dinner that I had prepared earlier, my husband (slightly confused) brought me some kimchi, and I just sat on the sofa, an immovable object sitting and eating in the same location on the sofa. And together we watched the movie, without subtitles, which turned out to be the life’s dumbest mistake.  The movie, with its ensemble cast, and various voices moving all over, made it challenging to focus on single voice and the plot.  Add to the complexity of the movie itself, the noise of four people happily scraping their dinners into their mouths, asking questions, shouting “I’m scared” and “Who is that person married to?” repeatedly interrupted my ability to hear and I began getting frustrated.  But we were all gathered, all sharing the same meal, all watching the same thing, and all focused on the same experience, which made it lovely.  And, I didn’t move once during that entire four hours.  My children took away the dishes, the husband took out the compost, the kitchen was more or less clean, and my feet, my legs, and my arms just rested in the early evening for the first time in I don’t remember how long.
I was reminded that pleasure doesn’t just come from producing, which is my normal mode of thinking.  I like teaching things, making things, doing things, writing things, cooking things, gardening things, and I don’t like to be without “things” to do. I push myself to do those things because I do get pleasure from seeing results, products, or growth, or dishes, or words on a page.  But there is also pleasure from rest, and God designed us to take a day of rest.  And on this day, Mother’s Day, I prepared myself for rest by planning ahead and and letting the kids know that yes, we would be resting together, and in this 4 hour space, my body relaxed, my muscles that twitched took a break, my eyes focused on something far away, and my knee and my foot didn’t ache, as there was no movement to cause the ache. And muscles, tensions, worries faded for those hours, simply when I allowed my mind to wander to other places and escape its own ranting and cycle of concerns.  And it was just so good.
I give my permission for this kind of rest more regularly – not just the sole Sunday of Mother’s Day, but more often than once a year.  All of us need to gather for this type of break more often, mothers, fathers, and children, for it is the rest that brings us the energy for the next round of activity.  And this chicken dish, is just the perfect dish for that kind of rest.  You marinate it the night before in a few ingredients and cook it the next day with little fuss.  The resulting chicken is so tender, juicy, flavorful, and delicious (and not coconut-y) it feels like you spent a lot of time on it, when really you didn’t.  This chicken also needs a bit of a break (in the fridge) so you get one too.  
Perfect Easy Meal

Coconut Milk Marinated Chicken
adapted from Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat 
1 whole chicken (fryer, roaster – anything between 3-5 lbs is fine)
1 13.5 can full fat coconut milk
Juice of one lemon or 2 limes
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon spice rub or mix – your choice (optional- I used ras el hanut – but cumin, chili powder, paprika, curry powder would all infuse nicely – it’s a faint back note, not the main flavor)
Prepare chicken by removing any gizzards from the chicken cavity.  If you are a chicken stock maker, you can cut the wing tips. (I left mine on for time’s sake.) In a large gallon ziploc bag, pour coconut milk, lemon/lime juice and salt.  Give it a quick stir with a wooden spoon.  Carefully add chicken into the bag, and give it a swirl. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible and place bag, chicken and all in a bowl. Turn it a couple of times so that coconut milk mixture gets everywhere.  Put in refrigerator at least overnight.  (You can turn the chicken over once or twice if you’re so inclined.)
The next day, an hour before you want to cook your chicken (and it takes about an hour to cook, so two hours before you plan to eat) remove your chicken from the fridge, and remove it from the marinade.  Let the marinade drip  off, and place the chicken on a shallow roasting pan or cast iron skillet.  Discard marinade. If you are able and skilled, truss your chicken to keep the legs and wings from splaying out and cooking too quickly.  (Watch how here.)  Let chicken sit at room temperature for a total of an hour.  
While your chicken is coming to room temperature, preheat your oven to 425.  After chicken has been at room temperature for an hour, place chicken in oven, legs facing the back and breast facing the front.  Let it cook for 20 minutes, and then REDUCE oven temp to 400.  Allow to cook for another 20-30 minutes, testing for doneness with a thermometer inserted into the thigh, and not touching the bone.  Temperature should be 165.  IF you do not have a thermometer, don’t fret.  You can use a knife and carefully cut the lower thigh and see if the juices run clear. If not, cook another 10 minutes.  
When chicken is finished, remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes at room temperature before cutting.  Cut into desired pieces (or just rip with your hands if you’re not feeling a carving type of dinner).  It can easily be eaten with a salad and potatoes, or with rice and vegetables.  I served it with fresh bread with butter and sauteed greens.
Printable recipe
Ready for the family
For me

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