Monday, November 22, 2010

Chilly Night Chicken

Yowza, Old Man Winter is definitely here to stay.  We had another snowstorm today and we're having crazy winds resulting in temps expected to hit -16 celsius with the windchill.  OK yes...that doesn't sound all that bad, but for us little old Victorians who aren't used to this kind of weather - that's c-c-cccold!  And it's a really, really damp cold so it just cuts right through to the bone.  Nasty stuff.

Fabulous Boss let us go home early today (hmmm, I think that's gonna stick - that's his name from now on) because of the snow situation.  Yesterday was my cooking day, and I'd prepped this dish but forgot to cook it - ahhh, I love happy accidents!  This smelled amazing while it was in the oven and was the perfect meal for a cold, snowy night - great flavour and the lemon zest made it taste really alive and fresh.  And it was soooo easy!   It's from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook - a seriously amazing looking cookbook...I've flagged all the recipes I want to make from it and there's about 20 that are going to be making the rotation soon...including this recipe.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken - from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook

1 3 1/2 pound chicken, flattened
kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt on each side.

Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and 1 tsp pepper in a ceramic or class dish just large enough to hold the flattened chicken.  Add the chicken, and turn to coat.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on one side of grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat).  Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grille.  Place the chicken on the cooler side skin side up, and weight it down with the dish you used for marinating.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown.  Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.  Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grille, cut side down, for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Take chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut chicken in quarters, sprinkle with salt and service with grilled lemon halves.

My adjustments:  I marinated this in a plastic bag - I find marinating chicken in a dish doesn't really get the marinade into the meat.  I also baked this, rather than grilling....I thought it'd be a wee bit cold to stand outside.  I baked this for 35 minutes at 450 degrees - fat was spitting everywhere but for any kind of bone in chicken in the oven, that temp for that length of time produces the juiciest and perfectly done meat. 

Deelish - I just ate and my mouth was watering as I typed up the recipe.  Huge thumbs up....Ina Garten is my new favourite cook!  Vij...don't be jealous...I still love you too.

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