Monday, August 12, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Garlic-Herb Dressing

I may have finally discovered what grilling aficionados have known all along: chicken cooks up on the grill pretty darn well. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog are aware of my past difficulties with poultry; that is, I rarely seem to properly prepare it, pulling it out of the oven either undercooked or dried out. Add this to the fact that Mrs. Hackknife is on record telling me that chicken just doesn't do much for her as an entree and it's no wonder that I tend to shy away from making chicken dishes here in the Canteen. One tiny part of me, however, was always curious if the grill might be a superior tool for prepping a bird; so, now that I'm the proud owner of a sizable outdoor kitchen, I had no more excuses to avoid grilling a chicken. After a little bit of digging through the library, I found a simple recipe for grilled chicken with garlic-herb dressing courtesy of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Cookbook and decided to give it a whirl. The recipe also includes grilled lemon and radicchio as garnish, but I decided to omit those and focus solely on the bird.

The first part of the process was preparing the dressing or marinade to be placed on the chicken pieces during grilling. This entailed roasting a head of garlic sprinkled with thyme leaves, then pureeing the softened garlic cloves with olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley to make "a thick vinaigrette" as Tyler calls it (note - if you run out of lemon juice, as I did, the dressing works equally well if you sub in lime juice). Next, you coat the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and olive oil, putting them skin-side down on a medium-high oiled grill (oiling is important to prevent sticking, although I have to say the stickage wasn't as bad as if I were cooking fish out there) for about 20 minutes. Once flipped over, you baste the pieces with your dressing (I had quite a bit left over, which came in handy as a sauce for the cooked chicken at the table) and cook it for about 20 minutes more until the inner meat temperature reaches 160F.

What you see above is what departed my grill - the chicken was nicely crisped on the outside with a moist/juicy interior (and, perhaps most importantly, cooked all the way through on the first attempt!). The dressing was a little bit robust for the kids, but they ate the parts of the meat unadulterated by sauce, while the missus and I swooned over the end product. This recipe is definitely one for the regular rotation and, all of a sudden, I feel like I have some chicken mojo finally working for me, a convenient thing considering the latest issue of Food & Wine covers almost exclusively chicken (deep-fried chicken livers, anyone?)...

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