Sunday, 20 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Brick Chicken

I am an epic failure at a few things. Baking in all it's forms, rice, gardening (witness the 6 petrified trees in the Morning Room), cars... most forms of Internet use.  So, out of necessity, (read: I don't want to starve) I grill. I figure that if it can be made in the oven, it can be grilled. 
Of course, there's a lot of fire in my life. But I enjoy the excitement of an unintentional flambe. The absolute up-side is...I get to spend lots of quality time in the Morning Room, imagining that the Petrified Forrest of Hibiscus is a grove of Lemon Trees...lulled into insensibility by the smells of rosemary, chicken and lemon on the grill.
This is my go-to recipe for the next few months. I envision lots of leftovers and lots of easy Sunday nights. 
And a little bit of fire.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus an overnight nap in the fridge

1 4 Lb. chicken, cut out the backbone
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Rosemary, or Oregano, or Thyme, whatever is fresh
2 garlic cloves, smashed into a paste with a bit of kosher salt
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes

The day or night before: lay the chicken out and press on the sternum to flatten it. You should hear a resounding crack, or at least feel the beast give way. Mix 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice, 1 tbsp. of the herb, 2 tbsp. of oil and the garlic in a small bowl. Dump it (or rub it, if you're feeling energetic) onto both sides of the chicken, place in a large glass or ceramic roasting pan (not aluminum) cover with plastic wrap and stash in the back of the fridge.
The Next Day: Preheat the grill to 400 degrees, salt and pepper your bird, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet on your stove, and place the little darling skin-side down when the oil shimmers. Splatter happens. Hopefully you have one of those skillet-shaped screens. Walk away for 7 minutes. Do not turn, stir, move, spindle or mutilate your chicken.
After 7 minutes, your chicken will be a yummy-looking brownish black, flip that bad boy onto a plate and onto the grill, skin-side down again, thank you. Place a foil wrapped brick cross-wise onto the bird, lower the lid, and retreat to your sanctuary for another 30 minutes.

Or you could make Anna Potatoes, which is what I did.

After 30 minutes, flip the bird and grill for another 15-20 minutes, till done. Sprinkle with the parsley, the rest of the lemon juice and the pepper flakes, carve it up and serve.

(Or - you could de-glaze the pan used for searing the bird with 1/4 C. of dry white wine, and plop the the bird into that, plus a hit of more herbs, cover with foil for 5 minutes, carve and serve.)