I have been on a veg kick for some time now and I usually don't like chicken. But then I got hold of a new book and my opinion has changed. A bad works man blames his tools...I wasn't grilling it right and now I know why.
Some of you must have seen the two books that I have on my side bar for some weeks now. I have been meaning to write about them but haven't gotten around to it as yet. They are my recent acquisitions from the library but so good that I keep renewing them. I guess I have to have my own copy now.
So today I will describe the second book: Chicken on the Grill: 100 Surefire Ways to Grill Perfect Chicken Every Time by Cheryl Alters Jamison. It has a lot of ways to grill chicken, and the book is nicely broken down to the recipes for a variety of cuts.. boneless, with bone, legs and thighs and whole chicken with detailed descriptions of how to grill each way.
Every section has a a bunch of neatly photographed and detailed recipes along with a myriad other variations of the marinade. There are dry rubs, marinades, sauces, brush on sauces..even condiments to be made with burgers and sandwiches.
I tried four recipes of which three were instant hits. The third was a chicken burger which was so good but it has no photo so can't be blogged about now. The fourth was a lemony garlicky chicken which I loved but was not as appreciated by the others. But here are the other two.
Every time the chicken was made, I made some extra which came in handy over the next couple of days for my express meals. Used as is or sauteed with your choice of vegetables and spices, it makes for great options on a weeknight.
Use only sea salt, not regular salt for both recipes. Sea salt is a broad term that generally refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living ocean or sea. It is not fully refined as much as other kinds of salt, so it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine which gives it a very different taste. I know its expensive but it changes the flavour dramatically. My grandma only uses sea salt and has a huge earthern ware pot with sea salt which we used to dip into to eat with mangoes. I believe this gives all her food a unique flavor. Crush it coarsely with a mortar and pestle.
6 things I make with leftover chicken:
1. Shred and add to noodles or fried rice or pasta.
2. Chop and add to the quesadilla mix while sauteing.
3. Use in a grilled cheese panini.
4. Saute with peppers for a hoagie or chicken cheese steak.
5. Roll it up in a tortilla wrap with lettuce, cheese and salsa or tacos.
6. Spice it up further to make instant chicken stir fry with rotis.
The Chicken Champ's Sunny breasts:(Don't go by the quirky name..its really good)
Preparation time is 5-10 minutes, keep aside for 15 minutes while the grill heats up and grill for another 10-12 minutes.
1 1/2 tbsp Dried Dill
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp granulated onion.( I didn't have this, so never added it)
1tsp Parsley flakes
2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
4 medium skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter (I used very little)
4 thick lemon slices
1 tsp sugar(I didn't add this either)
2 tbsp lemon juice diluted with 1 tbsp water (optional)
1. Prepare the dry rub by mixing all the ingredients together.
2. Wash, drain, and place the chicken in a plastic/zip lock bag and pound with heavy pestle or a glass all over evenly. This is to even out the thickness of the chicken.
3. Cut a thin pocket into the sides of the chicken with a sharp knife. Dunk each piece into the dry rub liberally making sure there is a thick even coating of the spices on both sides. Place small pieces of the butter in the pocket and spray the chicken lightly with oil.
4. Fire up the grill and while it heats up, let the chicken rest at room temperature.
5. When the grill is hot enough, wipe the grill with a oil soaked paper towel and place the chicken. Grill uncovered for 3 minutes, turn over and grill for another 3 minutes and then close the lid for 5 minutes. Turn once more and cook for 4 minutes. If your grill is the charcoal kind, you don't need to close the grill cover, but I feel more comfortable with the last bit of deep heat cooking. Drizzle with the extra dry rub and lemon juice and spray with oil at each turn. The chicken is ready when it looks white throughout and the surface looks nice and crusty.
Chicken Piri Piri
This is a Portugese recipe and the result is a spicy searing hot chicken with a mild interior. The name is derived from the fiery African dried red chilies used in the sauce.
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 tbsp dried red hot chili flakes
2 plump garlic crushed
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Preparation is similar to the above grilling. Just rub the marinade in generously and let it rest and then grill as above. If the grilling is to be done later, marinate and place in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. This marinade migt be better with bone in pieces, but then the cooking time increases to 30 minutes to make sure it is fully cooked.
Grilling Tips From The Book:
COntrolling the temperature of the fire is the key to success. Chicken grills at a steady heat except when dealing with thighs and drumsticks. The best way to judge the heat is by holding your hand over the grate.(don't touch it though!)Count the seconds before you feel the need to pull away your hand..1-2 seconds means hot, 3-4 medium, 4-5 moderate. 7-8seconds..is the perfect temp for vegetables. (My grill is a gas burner so it really is not as great as a charcoal burner but it does give good results as I know how to handle it now.)
Before grilling, always make sure the grate is clean and scrub it with a metal brush.
Then carefully coat it with a thin layer of oil using a brush or cloth.(Spraying works but make cause flareups.)
Be Prepared with all the tools and ingredients. Time the grilling as you go along.
Check for doneness by using a thermometer(it is odne when the meat has 170 degrees internally or when the juices run clear, or cut and see if the center is white.) Normally we like it well done and crispy so that takes care of doneness.
DO not put too much sauce on the chicken as it will only burn and not let the inside cook well. Make sure there is no oil drippings as they may cause flareups. Do not keep turning the chicken as it needs to sear on one side to keep it from drying up.
So good luck and hope you guys have fun grilling.