Saturday, August 27, 2011

RECIPE - Dog TV Chicken (Frango de TV de cachorro)

Granted that the name of this recipe somewhat less than enticing, for some reason particularly so in English. However, don't let the name put you off. As detailed in yesterday's post here on Flavors of Brazil, this recipe for seasoned, roasted chicken results in a wonderful moist bird with a crispy skin. The fanciful dog TV business is nothing more than a cute joke about the vertical rotisserie ovens used to cook the chicken in commercial establishments - there's not a television nor a canine in the ingredient list, we promise!

When I lived in Canada, we used to call these things "Safeway chickens", as in "I don't feel like cooking anything tonight, should we just pick up a Safeway chicken?" Even if it came from another supermarket chain or from a neighborhood deli it still was a Safeway chicken. But now that I've learned here in Brazil to call it dog TV chicken, I think I might start a campaign to use the same name in English.

One note about the recipe - it calls for the chicken to be cooked for a very long time at a low temperature in order to keep the bird moist while allowing time for the skin to crisp up. We've done quite a bit of internet research and it appears that the temperature and time specified in the recipe are sufficient to assure that all the surface bacteria are killed. If, however, you are nervous, you can start the cooking at a higher temperature (275F - 130C) for the first hour in order to kill off any bacteria, then reduce the heat (225F - 110C) for the remaining four hours. We've made this dish three or four times using the time and temperature specified in the recipe without unwanted results, but can't of course speak for all ovens, chickens and food sensitivities.
RECIPE - Dog TV Chicken (Frango de TV de cachorro)
Serves 4

2 tsp salt
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, quartered
1 medium-sized chicken (2-3 lbs, 1-1.5 kgs)
(Optional step) One day before cooking, wash the chicken and dry thoroughly inside and out. Place on a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. This will partially dry out the skin which results in a crispier skin.

In the morning, mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. If you haven't already washed and dried the chicken do so now. Rub the spices into all the surfaces of the chicken, inside and out. Place the quartered onion in the cavity of the bird. Put the chicken in a large Ziploc-style bag, or loosely wrap with plastic film and return to refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Preheat oven to 250F (120C). Remove the chicken from the refrigeratore, put in a roasting pan and cook, uncovered, for five hours, or until the interior temperature of the meat reaches 185F (85C) when measured with a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Recipe translated and adapted from


  1. Thanks for the recipe, my fiance would love this. I have a few questions though, James. Are (bottled) dried herbs easy to find there? Products by McCormick, MasterFoods, etc. for instance. Also, is there a wide variety of leafy greens there? I'm in Malaysia and I love collard and mustard greens in my daily diet so I'm a bit worried I might miss them once I go to Brazil to be with my fiance. Thanks. - Linda

  2. Hi Linda - You'll not have any problem finding dried herbs in supermarkets in Brazil - unless they're very ususual. The standard ones are all sold in most supermarkets. If you have any interesting or different curry powders or pastes you might want to bring some - I always return from Canada with tons of packets of Thai, Indonesian and Indian curry pastes.

    As for leafy greens, you can easily find flat kale, which is very much like collard greens. There's also arugula and watercress and many native Brazilian greens available. What you won't find are Asian/Chinese style greens, and for some reason broccoli is difficult to source here in Fortaleza and when you find it, it's very expensive.