GRILLED HERB CHICKEN
Okay, we live in Kansas and Larry is a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz movie. He doesn't cook (or eat, for that matter, horse ... well, once in France) so he couldn't do a horse of a different color, thus the chicken of a different flavor). If you don't understand this, don't worry ... it has nothing to do with the recipe.
We both love BBQ, but sometimes get tired of the sauces. So many times with BBQ chicken, the taste is sauce and smoke (or was that a play by Tennessee Williams?).
One Saturday morning about 10:00 some neighbors stopped by and coffee turned into sangria and was beginning to lean toward champagne and wine and we knew we were going to have to feed the group something before the moon rose. Being in no condition at this point to do anything elaborate,like drive to the store, Larry cut up a chicken that was going to be most of our food for the coming week, chopped up some herbs growing in pots, let it marinate and then cooked it slowly on the grill along with some thawed bread dough. A little salad and everyone was sober enough to either walk home or crawl to bed. The chicken has turned into a favorite. The bread was a creation of a friend of our who owns a couple of beach houses in Baja. Once when we were down there and planning a little fiesta on the beach, our friend drove into the tiny pueblo near the houses only to discover that is was some holiday and the local bakery was closed. She remembered she had a loaf of frozen bread dough in the freezer and turned it in to what we now refer to as Baja Bread.
1 4-5 pound chicken, cut into pieces (free range or organic, if possible.)
1 Onion coarsely chopped
A large handful each of rosemary, parsley, sage, and thyme.
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil (about 1/4 cup)
Mix together, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. After about 3 hours, mix, recover and put in refrigerator. Remove about 45 minutes before grilling.
We haven't used a gas grill in years, so I'm no help on grilling with gas. Build a good size fire with charcoal and when you can hold your hand over the grill for about a minute, it should be ready. The secret to this, no matter which type of grill, is slow cooking, covered. You don't want to dry it out or burn it. I baste it quite often and put the herbs, onion, pepper and celery right on the chicken. This will help to keep it moist. I find the chicken usually takes about 45 minutes, depending on the fire. It should have an internal temperature of 180° when ready. As the smaller pieces get cooked, removed them a cooler area of the grill.
This chicken is also excellent served slightly cooler than room temperature and would be an ideal main course for a picnic.
1 loaf of frozen white bread dough
Finely chopped fresh herb or herbs of your choice. Rosemary is a favorite of ours.
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt.
Defrost bread. We put it in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil and then cover it with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed. This can be a bit tricky because you want the bread to defrost and rise, but not rise too much. (If it gets out of control, which we've had happen a few times, sprinkle the herbs on it, mush it a bit and let it start to rise again.) Just before cooking divide it into four pieces and sort of mold it into mini-pizza shapes. Scatter some herbs on each side. Brush with olive oil and about 20 minutes before the chicken is done, place the bread around the edges of the grill and cover. Keep and eye on it. Turning it is up to you; I've done both and its good either way. Brush a little more olive oil on it if you want. We sprinkle a little bit of salt on it the last minute or two. This is not a difficult recipe. If you've grilled a little, it's easy to handle and if you don't burn the bread (actually, even if you do a bit, it's still good.) you can't really hurt it. Like the horse and the chicken, it's a bread of a different taste!