Filed under: challenge, dinner, recipe | Tags: chicken, greek, lemons, local, olive, Phoenix, recipe, tomato
Published February 13, 2011
There are some meals where all you do is introduce the raw ingredients to fire, using the cooking process to draw out the natural flavor, complementing them ever-so-slightly with salt and pepper. A meal where the whole is better than the parts, but each component stands alone. This is one of those meals. And it’s really simple.
I’m often hesitant to cook with local chicken – not for reasons of cost or availability – but instead worried that whatever I create won’t stand up to a chicken that actually tastes like, well, chicken. Somehow cooking with a chicken that has a depth of flavor leaves me baffled. How do you draw it out, show it off, accentuate it? I want to do this chicken justice. And until this meal, I’ve resorted to roast chicken, confident that the tried and true method is the best display for real chicken.
It turns out that these birds are strong enough in flavor profile to outshine even the most acidic of complements. In fact, the bird becomes an even bigger star. While the lemons from a friend’s tree, olives from Queen Creek Olive Mill (which are unbelievable) and locally made feta give the chicken a run for her money – she stands alone in her excellence.
And for a meal that could easily be made on weeknight, well, the bird steals the show.
Butterflied Greek Chicken
Adapted, ever so slightly, from Bobby Flay
1 3-pound chicken, butterflied (step by step instructions here)
Salt and pepper
6 plum tomatoes, halved
3 lemons, halved
1 red onion, skin on, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1/4 red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
2 – 3 Tbsp chopped oregano leaves
1/2 olives, pitted
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup greek yogurt (or, since unable to find locally, sour cream with a squeeze of lemon juice)
Preheat grill to medium, leave 1 side or section of the grill off. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and coat well with canola oil. Place the chicken, skin side down, on the grill over direct heat. Cook until golden brown and slightly charred. Once the skin is charred and blistered, flip over and move to the indirect heat. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 170 F for the thigh meat – about 14 – 17 minutes. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
While the chicken is on the grill, brush the tomatoes, lemon and onion with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill lemons, cut side down, until golden brown – about 8 to 9 minutes. Grill the tomatoes, cut side down, and onion for 5 – 7 minutes until softened and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, mustard and olive oil in well sealed jar. Shake, rather violently, for 30 seconds until combined. Add in the oregano and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, carve the chicken into 8 pieces and arrange on a plate or shallow bowl with the tomatoes, onions and all but one of the lemon halves. Evenly scatter the olives and feta cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Add the basil leaves. If using sour cream, add a half squeeze of a half of the cooked lemon and mix well. Dollop the yogurt or sour cream mixture in the center of the platter. Squeeze the remainder of the lemon half over the platter.
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