MEAT MATTERS go bold
Kristine Subido of Chicago’s Pecking Order Catering (formerly, chef/owner of Pecking Order,
a high-end fast-casual) swaps fish for chicken in a classic sarsiado dish. Sarsiado in the Tagalog
language means “cooked with a thick sauce.” Here, she sears and braises chicken thighs in a thick
chicken stock-based gravy with leftover chicken bones, garlic, white onion and tomato paste, and
a touch of soy sauce or tamari.
Michael Gulotta, award-winning chef/co-owner of Maypop in New Orleans, showcases the
flavors of Southeast Asia with his brick-pressed spring chicken glazed in turmeric yogurt and served
with ginger-infused smashed peas, rice and a lemongrass vinaigrette.
And while Korean fried chicken has become a common sight on menus around the country,
Juliet Greene, senior corporate chef for Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, Chicago, has invented
a mashup dish with Nashville Hot Chicken. She coats the fried chicken in a syrupy glaze made
from sauteed ginger, garlic, red chili flakes, soy sauce, rice vinegar, mustard powder, and a touch of
brown sugar and honey for sweetness to balance out the spice. She serves the chicken atop spiced
biscuits, sprinkled with sesame seeds and honey mustard pickles.
“Both Nashville and Korean-style chicken have a great heat and spice to them, so I blended
them into a craveable ‘sweet heat’ with the honey,” Greene says.
As Nando’s PERi PERi, the fast-casual chicken chain, continues to expand on the East Coast and in
Chicago, diners are getting more aware of a South African staple infused with Portuguese influences.
The chain’s signature peri-peri sauce is a staple in South Africa, where legend has it that
Swahili tribes introduced Portuguese travelers on the spice trade route to their beloved piri piri
pepper, according to Keri Ann Meslar, North America director of marketing—grocery for Nando’s.
“Our peri-peri sauce differs from other hot sauces because it is its own genre,” she says. “The
sauce is thicker and has more lemon, garlic, herbs and onions versus straight chilies, so you can
really taste those other flavors coming through.”
In South Africa, the sauce is served with everything from rice to vegetables and prawns. But
at Nando’s, it’s used as the base for 24-hour-marinated whole chickens that are flame-grilled and
served with more of the sauce on the side.
At Area Four Boston, chef/owner Jeff Pond puts his own spin on classic chicken wings with
North African flavors. Unlike most messy, sauce-infused wing dishes, Pond’s chicken wings
marinate in a lighter and slightly sweeter housemade Moroccan ras el hanout dry rub with a
variety of spices—cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice and cloves. The wings
are pan-fried and served with a splash of lime and topping of mint.
America’s most prized meat—the glorious chicken—has met its match when it comes to bolder
flavors and new culinary avenues.
AMELIA LEVIN IS A CHICAGO-BASED FOOD WRITER, COOKBOOK AUTHOR AND CERTIFIED CHEF.
ABOVE, LEFT: Peruvian-style rotisserie
chicken from Chicken + Whiskey,
ABOVE, RIGHT: Turmeric/yogurt-glazed,
brick-pressed spring chicken is on the
menu at Maypop, New Orleans.