I know, I promised I would post some fantastic recipes and then I disappeared for a few weeks. Well, I'm back now and ready to cook. Grilling season is upon us, so it seems fitting to start with a recipe for grilled chicken.
If you make grilled chicken from time to time, you know the trick is to cook the chicken thoroughly and still end up with a juicy and tender result. You probably also know that it's not always as easy as it sounds. About a year ago, we made the most beautiful chicken. We followed a recipe that called for marinating it and then brushing it with a sauce while it cooked. It looked and smelled great when we took it off the grill, but we were disappointed to find it rubbery and nearly flavorless. Using a brine, as this recipe does, makes all the difference, so don't be tempted to skip that step. The chicken only needs about an hour in the brine (a little more or a little less than an hour is fine), so you can prepare the rest of the recipe, get your grill heated up and prep your side dishes in that time.
Grab a partner (because the whole point is to have fun cooking with someone you love), pour a few glasses of your favorite beverage and turn on some great music. Let's get cooking!
Chimichurri Grilled Chicken
2 quarts water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of one small lemon
4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
Rinse chicken pieces in cold water. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and garlic powder. Add 2 quarts water and stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Immerse chicken pieces into brine. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Finely chop shallot and garlic cloves and place in the cup of your food processor along with parsley, salt, black pepper, chili flakes, oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar and the juice of one small lemon. Pulse several times, until well blended but not pureed. Set aside.
When chicken has nearly finished brining, light charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to medium high heat. Remove chicken from brining liquid but do not rinse.
Place chicken on heated grill. Baste with Chimichurri sauce every ten minutes or so, turning pieces each time to ensure even cooking. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°.
Remove chicken from grill and let rest briefly before serving. Discard any unused Chimichurri sauce.
Just a few quick thoughts about cooking together. You can divide the tasks for this recipe (or any recipe) any way you like. For example, the person with the better knife skills can do the chopping while the less experienced cook does the measuring. On the other hand, it may be a good opportunity for the less experienced cook to improve their ability to use a knife. As long as the emphasis is on having fun (and safety, of course), you really can't go wrong.
Mr. Willoughby and I have such a great time cooking together, we hope to inspire you to cook with someone you love. We had couples in mind when we decided to make Cooking Together a weekly feature, but there is no reason you can't cook with your mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, best friend, weird uncle, crazy aunt or your next door neighbor. We would love to hear from you if you try this recipe.