Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Dinner for a Crowd: Super Simple Grilled Chicken



Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

I've had a wonderful group of teens that I've worked with on writing for the past couple of years. Last year, they had a class on writing short stories with me, and this year, basically the same group took a course in advanced creative writing, where they worked on projects of their own choice. Next year, however, I start with a new crop for a "tasting" class in all aspects of creative writing, and most of these folks will be moving on to other things: one has just graduated, two are leaving for different schooling environments, etc.

Each semester, we put together a group project, based on a movie. The first semester we saw Once Upon a Mattress and the students came in the next day and wrote a movie musical script collaboratively, and this semester they did the same thing with a Noir piece after watching To Have and Have Not(okay, so To Have and Have Not is not exactly Noir, but they still managed Noir after seeing it). What was rejected this semester was screwball comedy, although the votes between screwball and noir were just about split, so I promised them a post school-year evening of screwball and dinner.

So we watched Bringing Up Baby with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and if you haven't seen it, you really should. It's hysterical. Truly.

Then there was the issue of what to serve: if you've got a bunch of teenage boys coming over, it's easy - meat and carbs and sugar - and lots of all three. This, however, was a group of girls. So I reached back into my memories for favorites of my exchange daughters over the years and this is what we had: Super Simple Grilled Chicken, Caprese Salad, Garlic Bread and homemade Strawberry Shortcake. I think it's safe to say that the menu was a hit, and I was happy to entertain these students whose writing and personalities I had so enjoyed over the past couple of years.

The chicken recipe has been a "go-to" for me this spring; I love the melding of flavors and the simplicity of the whole thing. I really took a page from Italian cuisine in terms of some of the 3-4 ingredient pasta dishes that I so love.

I meant to get a photo of all the chicken cooking on the grill, but I was too busy cooking at that point, and forgot. Needless to say, this can feed a CROWD. We ended up with about 1/3 of it left over, but that's just fine, because there are myriad uses for leftover chicken. You can also cut this recipe way down, by using just one lb. of chicken and halving the marinade.

Super Simple Grilled Chicken

To get an idea of just how simple, here are the ingredients:



4 - 6 lbs of a mixture of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and drumsticks (I find these are the two most popular cuts for a crowd)
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 big, honking lemons
4 - 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 TBS kosher salt
1 hefty sprig of rosemary

Directions:

1. About 6 - 8 hours before cooking, wash and pat dry chicken pieces and cut each breast half in half again, so that you have portions of about 3-4 oz. Place all pieces in one, quart-size freezer bag. (Yes, you can be more ecological and place these in a pan, but I didn't have enough room in the fridge, and I actually think the bag method works better for marinating - I almost never use these, but for this recipe, I do).
2. Whisk together all the other ingredients (well, in the case of the lemons, the juice of those lemons), and carefully pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken.
3. Seal the bag and squeeze everything to distribute the marinade.
4. Place bag in the fridge and every time you open the fridge that day, change the position of the bag, to make sure every morsel of chicken gets marinated.
5. About 40 minutes before serving time (because usually you have to cook the chicken in batches) prep your grill for direct, high heat.
6. Watching for flare-ups, place chicken on the grill. The breast pieces will need 4 - 6 minutes on each side, and the drumsticks will need 8 - 10. If you're using a gas grill, cook these with the lid ON.



Enjoy!

Note: To those watching your waistlines - don't worry about the massive quantities of olive oil - almost all of the marinade comes off as you take the chicken from the bag, so you end up with about 1/2 tsp olive oil per piece of chicken.

27 comments:

Lilacspecs said...

Ooh, this is a good one and I can find all that stuff easily. Would sea salt work in lieu of kosher?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Yes, sea salt would work, Lilac, but it's just that the Kosher salt works a little more powerfully. BTW... sometimes in Germany you can find kosher salt as "Margarita salt" - maybe in Belgium, too?

Shan said...

Mmm this sounds delicious!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Thanks, Shan. Yours looked absolutely wonderful, too, but I wasn't able to comment, as usual. Your commenting thing just won't let me in - I can only do the pop-up comments via blogspot. ;-(

Luisa Perkins said...

Yum! I can't wait to make this.

Totally with you on the zipper-lock bag marinade strategy. I also use them when I brine pork chops.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Luisa, I have to say that those bags work for certain things in a way that nothing else does. Sad, but true.

BTW... I am so making your version of poutine some time this week!!!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Yum. This menu sounds perfect for a spring/summer day.

I can't find Kosher salt (only sea salt) in the supermarkets. I used it a lot in the States.

I wonder if one of the international food stores have it.

Ben said...

Chicken is always the perfect thing for a party (or any other occasion, really) I'll check the movies you mentioned out and write my report LOL

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

NYC... Hmmm... maybe it's just not very available in Europe. That seems so strange, though. Basically, it's just the larger crystals. And I agree - it's a lovely summer dish, best when eaten outdoors.

Ben - All three movies are kind of over-the-top and a bit strange, but Bringing Up Baby, in particular, is a real hoot.

Momisodes said...

These look amazing! I actually prefer chicken over beef for grilling. We may light up the Q this weekend, and I would love these.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Me, too, Momisodes. I think many women do, and that's partly why I chose chicken for these girls. I'm also a sucker for any chicken/citrus combination.

Lucy said...

Jen this looks so very good! I enjoy chicken w/lemon ;-)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Me, too, Lucy. It's just a favorite summer combination.

anno said...

This meal was a BIG hit -- I'm looking forward to giving it a try myself. Thanks for posting this one!

the twins said...

i love "bringing up baby"! and thanks for the recipe

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Thanks, Anno - the thing, too, was that the whole meal was very simple, which was a bonus. I really had such a good time with all the girls.

Thanks for stopping by, Twins! Bringing up Baby is, indeed, a classic!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Twins - I'm guessing that was Rita, due to the love of "Baby" - I love your blog! I am hoping you see this, though, because I can't post on it, and others may not be able to, either. There is a bug with the embedded comments option - many people can't post to it. If you use pop-up or full page, you should be able to receive all your comments. Lovely blog, though - I'm following it, at least.

Bellini Valli said...

This one of those "go to" recipes for the long, lazy days of summer and enjoying good food with friends.

Brittany Noel said...

Sounds like you ladies had a great time! And lemon and chicken is pretty much the best combination ever. Thanks for sharing :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Val, it truly is. The grill person has to be attentive to the grill for a bit, though.

Brittany - I agree with you about the lemon/chicken thing, totally.

Mariposa said...

Another wonderful recipe...I just keep coming here and I won't run out of things to cook for the weekend! :)

My Local Love Friday is UP early. Will be back later to check on your entry and others...

Los Angelista said...

Bringing Up Baby is one of my faves! I'll pass the chicken recipe on to my carnivore hubby. I think he'll enjoy it!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Mariposa, I can't wait to read it. I'm about to get mine up and posted in a little while. I guess I should try to put up a Mr. Linky, too.

Los A - I hope he enjoys it. Most of the summer recipes will be vegetarian, though, I'm guessing.

FrankandMary said...

I am more of a blogger than a true writer, but I did have a few teachers who encouraged me to read & write more in high school; they showed a real interest in my abilities & inclinations & I appreciated it so much.
I don't believe I've ever seen Bringing Up Baby, but I can remember my Mother talking about it in such a way that I feel like I did see it.
I was just blog hopscotching around & found you...~Mary

City Girl said...

Looks great!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Mary, thanks so much for stopping by. I'm glad you checked this out. I'd highly recommend Bringing Up Baby, it really is fun.

City Girl - thanks so much! I'm late making my rounds this week, as we have our German "daughter" visiting with us.

glamah16 said...

Love that smokiness of perfectly grilled chicken.