Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Chicken

I'm the chief griller at our house, and over the last couple of years I've gotten really quite decent at it if I do say so myself. I used to turn out chicken that was charred on the outside and raw in the middle, and now I can grill it up nice and evenly cooked and still lovely and moist. I love grilled chicken sliced up and put on top of salads, tossed with pasta, on top of pizza, inside fajitas - you name it. Here's what I made a couple of nights ago for dinner to add to pasta, which I'll post next, for my night-before-a-long-run dinner. I always do much better when I eat the right stuff.

First, you have to hire your sous chef. Mine can be rented out for a small fee, but I have to warn you that she tends to be more trouble than help. But she is cheerful company. She rather enjoyed eating the snow off the porch while I grilled until her feet got cold when she tried actually walking on the snow.

All right, all right, on with the recipe. Spray your grill rack with PAM and fire it up to medium heat and let it get nice and warmed up while you prep your chicken (I usually don't preheat it during the summer, but when it's only 35-40 degrees out, this helps it cook more evenly).

Thaw your chicken breasts if you're using frozen. Two usually suffices for our family just fine. Grate the zest off of one lemon, and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Mince a long sprig of rosemary, about 1 T. Sprinkle the chicken with the zest, rosemary and a few grinds each of kosher salt and pepper. Your chicken should look like the top picture.

Grill on the first side for about 10 minutes. Note that it's just starting to turn golden on the thinnest part on the bottom edges, and that it's mostly opaque with just a bit of it still looking raw. While it's been cooking on this first side, add 2 T. apple cider vinegar and 3 T. honey to the lemon juice and stir until well combined. Brush a nice coating of glaze on the top side of the chicken breasts and cook a minute or so longer to help stick everything on nicely. Then flip it over.

See the nice golden char marks? Not totally cooked, but well on the way. Brush the bottom side with the glaze, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. (This depends on the thickness of your breasts. These are Tyson brand individually quick frozen ones, which tend to be pretty plump. If you want quicker results, pound or butterfly them to the desired thickness and adjust your cook times accordingly.)
Flip it back over and baste the top side again very generously. I have gotten comfortable enough with sensing when they are done that I don't poke them - I find that the juices run out and they dry out. I gauge the doneness by the over all color, and by how much size they've reduced (about 20%). It might take you a few times to get the hang of it, but just like all things in cooking...just keep trying! Once the glaze is set and they are nicely golden on the top and bottom, remove them to a plate.
See? Don't those look nice? Here's the real secret. Now I cover them with a plate and let the juices settle for at least 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into them. If there's a tiny hint of pinkness in the middle when you pull them off the grill and you do this right away, they'll finish cooking as they rest and be perfect, moist and juicy when you serve them. I'd like you to notice that these have no added fat, making them excellent diet food. When I'm using them in a recipe, I throw them on the grill at the same time that I start the pasta cooking and everything works out very well timing wise.

1 comment:

Leigh Anne said...


This chicken looks delicious and so versatile! Thanks for sharing. Would be yummy sliced up on a Caeser salad