Barbequed Chicken Pieces with Lemon and Rosemary
I love my gas barbeque. It means I can cook outside any day of the week, (almost) all year round, even when I don’t have the time to prepare a proper charcoal fire. It is just brilliant for low temperature, slow cooking of thick cuts of meat like chicken legs and thighs where a charcoal fire at around 1,000 degrees C would annihilate the food on the outside and leave it raw in the centre. Sound familiar?
Tonight, for example, a collection of chicken pieces were pulled from the freezer, defrosted in tepid water for about 15 minutes, and then mixed with a little olive oil and a load of fresh rosemary before being put on the barbie for supper.
Thick chicken legs and thighs can be notoriously slow to cook, which is why all those annoying barbeque packs sold in supermarkets instruct you to cook them in the oven first, and then ‘finish’ them off on the barbeque. What is the point of that.
I dry the thawed chicken pieces with kitchen paper, and put them in a boil with some olive oil, rosemary and a little salt, and mix them all together to make sure the chicken pieces are evenly coated with the herbs and oil.
The best way to cook pieces like this is on a hot plate. No naked flames that is, otherwise the fat that drips into the flames from the skin will ignite and cover the food in soot. Not nice. Another tip is to cover the pieces with foil as they cook. This helps the chicken pieces cook all the way through and retains all of their moisture. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken about half way through and add extra rosemary too. It smells wonderful as it cooks and makes a delicious, simple meal.
Allow about 40 minutes to cook the chicken on the lowest heat your barbeque will allow. You will only need to turn the pieces two or three times during this time, adding lemon and extra herbs as you do.
Tonight, Luca wrapped some fresh sweetcorn pieces in foil with some freshly ground black pepper and I let them cook slowly around the edges of the barbeque with the chicken. Kitty made a beautifully arranged salad of spinach, cherry tomatoes, watercress and avocado. Perfect for a humid, bright, August evening.