This is THE best chicken I have ever had, hands down. It all started with a surprise bird Michael brought home from our friends Ron and Kelly of Lost Man’s Farm. All I could think about was crisping the skin, my usual goal with chicken. I have butchered hundreds of chickens and as I sliced through this bird the bones were a bit softer than most and the meat and skin felt velvety, one more reason to buy local chicken. I marinated the quartered bird in lemon juice. herbs and garlic for two hours and placed a heavy pan on top of the chicken as it was grilling which gave me an amber brown crispy skin that was to die for. A little squeeze of grilled lemon and you could hear the oohs & ahhhs around the table.
Here is the recipe :
Crispy Herb Chicken with Grilled Lemon
1 (4lb) local chicken – stand the chicken upright and cut out the backbone, spread the chicken on a plastic board with the skin side down and cut around and remove the breast bone with a boning knife, then cut through the thigh joints to quarter the chicken – or ask your butcher to do this for you!
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest ( 2 to 3 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic (3 to 4 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves, minced
3 lemons halved
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt on each side. Don’t skimp on the salt with chicken, it brings out all the flavor. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow flat dish that is just large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat (I like to loosen the skin a bit and rub the marinade directly on the meat). Cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 hours or so and turn the chicken at the half way point.
Prepare the grill with hot charcoals on one side and spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side with the skin up and weight it down with a heavy dish, like the one you used for marinating.
Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden down and turn the chicken skin side down until the chicken is cooked through, another 12 to 15 minutes. Place the lemons on the cool side the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken and cover with aluminum foil, let it rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with the lemons, an organic green salad with balsamic vinegar and grilled bread. My favorite drink pairings: a crisp lighter bodied Italian Pinot Grigio and/or a mid-hopped Pale Ale.
*this recipe is based on Ina Garten’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken