By Beverly Barbour
Chicken loves the grill
Joy to the world, chicken is less expensive than almost any other edible critter! How nice that such an inexpensive source of protein, loved by almost everyone in every nation, doesn't have a strong assertive flavor. You can do so many things with the bird that you could almost serve it once a day for a month and nobody would get tired of seeing chicken on the table again.
This time of year the grill and chicken have a great affinity. Here are a few hot recipes looking for a grill. If there is no grill in sight, most can be done under a broiler or on a ribbed, grill stovetop pan.
Just remember before introducing the bird to the grill that the bird or its parts need to be well washed. Also pull off any unwanted fat or remnants of the innards still found inside the bird. Using inexpensive parts like the legs or wings is a good idea, but generally, you can get more food from the whole bird where the backs and innards can go straight to the soup or stock pot to make yet another meal of chicken soup or stew.
Grilling tips that you probably already know
1. Be certain that the grill has been cleaned after its last use. To keep food from sticking to the grill, scrub the grill rack well (soap and water are recommended).
2. A wire brush works best for scrubbing, the kind you easily find in hardware stores or supermarkets.
3. When dry, spray the rack with vegetable cooking oil spray. You may also want to spray the chicken.
3. Chicken must be seared over a hot grill before turning to keep the skin or flesh from sticking to the grill. Turn several times throughout cooking and baste after each turn.
4. Never use a fork to turn meats as the tines piercing the meat keep the flavorful juices from your mouth by feeding the coals. Tongs were made for tasks like this.
Simple Sweet-Sour BBQ Chicken
Yellow mustard heats this quick and easy sauce up a bit before the bird ever hits the grill. You can barbecue on the grill or in the broiler...maybe even in a frying pan. Makes 4 servings using pieces from any part of the bird.
1/2 cup yellow mustard, the hotter the better
Stir together the mustard, brown sugar, oil and vinegar. Divide mixture in half. Heat the grill or broiler. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, basting often with the glaze, about 6 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Serve with the heated additional glaze on the side.
Grilled Chicken in Spiced Yogurt
Chicken breast halves or thighs work well and you can cook on a grill or on a ridged grill pan over moderate heat. Under the broiler works, too. Makes 6 servings.
2 1/4 cups plain yogurt, preferably whole milk
Whisk together 1 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, and spices. Add chicken and turn until coated well. Marinate at room temperature 20 minutes. While chicken is marinating, prepare grill. You will want to cook over moderate heat. Whisk together remaining 1 1/4 cups yogurt and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and salt to taste. Grill chicken, discarding the marinade. Turn chicken occasionally until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Toss together mint, shallot and remaining tablespoon oil. Drizzle chicken with yogurt sauce and top with mint mixture before servings.
Spicy Orange Chicken in Pouches
A delicious way to use boneless pieces cut from less-favorite pieces of chicken or buy chicken "tenders." If you don't have Szechuan sauce use soy sauce. Also, you can substitute fresh tangerine segments and juice for the canned mandarin oranges that the recipe calls for. Makes 2 servings.
1/2 pound boneless, chicken tenders
Preheat oven to 450 F or warm grill to medium-high heat. Center half of small pieces of chicken on each of 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil (12- by 18-inches each). Divide rice and arrange around chicken. Top with celery, orange marmalade and Szechuan sauce. Use slotted spoon to spoon oranges over ingredients; reserve juice. Bring up foil sides, double-fold* top and fold one end of each packet to prevent escape of the juice. Through the open end of each packet pour in half of mandarin orange juice from can. Fold remaining ends to seal packets, leaving room for circulation inside. Bake 18 to 22 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven or grill 12 to 14 minutes in a covered grill.
*Folding both ends of a paper together used to be called "the drugstore fold." Here you will bring opposite sides of foil together evenly and fold down together so that no juices can escape. Then fold one end to seal tightly. After the juice has been added, fold the other end tightly leaving some space in the packet for heat to circulate.
We do all love grilled chicken!