Saturday, March 10, 2012

Grilled Chicken Dinner

Pin It Here is what's for dinner tonight:

It all looks one color, but that is the byproduct of CFL lighting.  Sorry.

Purim is a fun holiday that celebrates Queen Ester, encourages good will, and sets me into a chicken-cooking, bone-saving frenzy.  I'm never good with exact dates, but I know that Purim means Passover is roughly one month away.  Passover means matzo ball soup, made with home-made chicken stock.  Our freezer starts to look like the chicken carcass hoarding scene from Girl, Interrupted.  The payoff is delicious, though, so my husband humors me and tolerates my crazy.

Lucky for me my family likes chicken, and it was on silly sale today.

Dinner tonight is a Provencal-inspired chicken-under-a-brick (or cast iron skillet) with sauteed artichoke hearts and cous-cous with peas.  

The chicken can start marinating the morning before, but be sure that it has at least 2 hours.
The sides took 5 minutes each, tops.


You need:

juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 TBS rosemary (or one 2-3" sprig if you have fresh)
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 TBS olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp sage
1 tsp capers - don't be fussy about draining them - the juice is fine in this.

5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 whole roaster, 3-4 lbs

Cut the backbone out of the chicken with kitchen shears.  Turn the chicken over and press on the breastbone until the chicken is flat.  (It is a little like you are trying to do chest compressions.  Odd, but ignore the cracking and flatten that bird.)  Pat the bird dry inside and out with a paper towel.  Save the backbone for broth.

Place the first 8 ingredients in a food processor with 2 sprigs of thyme and blend until they form a paste.

Rub the chicken inside and out with the paste/oil.  Put the chicken in a large container or pan and refrigerate.  Let marinate 2-10 hours.

The chicken is ideally grilled on high over indirect heat.
Wipe olive oil (or use Pam with EVOO) on the part of the grill not above the heat source.
Place the chicken, skin side up, on the greased grill.  Then tear up the remaining thyme and place on the chicken.
Now that your chicken is pretty, spread some olive oil on a piece of foil and place on the chicken.
Put a cast-iron skillet or roaster pan with bricks on top of the foil.

Close the grill and let your artfully arranged chicken cook for 30-35 minutes, until golden around the edges.

After 30-35 minutes, lift the bird, re-oil the grill, and put the bird back on the grill (sans weights), skin side down.  Cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the skin is crispy.

Let the bird rest for 5 minutes before carving.  If you need more time, put the foil back on the bird and put a towel over it.  I promise that chick will stay hot for a long time.

(makes 2 hungry people servings)
One 14-oz can of quartered artichoke hearts, well drained, or frozen artichokes, thawed.
1 slice of lemon
sea salt
olive oil

Heat some (2-second pour, or once around the pan) olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  When warm (you should be able to smell the oil, but it should not be smoking), add in the artichoke hearts, lemon, and salt.  I like to add a few thin lemon rounds instead of a wedge for the visual.
Toss occasionally, until hearts are browned.

Tips for cous cous!
Cous cous is small pasta.  I like the kind that comes in a box with a spice packet, and cooks in under 10 minutes.  Whether you use this or just the plain pasta, here are some tips and Mommy tricks.

1) Use broth instead of water.  I like using chicken stock, but you can use whatever you like.  (Do this with pasta salads, too.  It is just a good idea.)

2) Add a clove of garlic, sliced into a few pieces, to the broth.  You can also add other spices that will compliment your meal.  My favorites are fresh rosemary, lemon, capers, Parmesan cheese, or oregano.

3) Add frozen peas, edamame, or broccoli (before the pasta).  It is the #1 way I make meals appear healthier. I always have frozen peas on hand, because I stir it into anything too hot when the baby needs to eat right that second, or anything that could use some green, like mac & cheese.

That is dinner tonight!


And don't forget to freeze the bones for stock!

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