When winter comes around, I like to be reminded that spring is not far away, and then summer will be here. Sitting on the deck enjoying the rich, green forest all around us, Harris firing up the grill to cook something wonderful to eat, it makes me want to bring some of that feeling to a quick, inexpensive and savory meal. I love the idea of barbecue chicken, but I haven’t found a pit master who prepares it the way I want it. Often the meat is greasy and the skin is always a waste of a good ingredient. So this is my take on the subject—I know many of you will heartily disagree, so I hope you’ll find this recipe one you’ll enjoy for its own excellent qualities. Low and slow isn’t usually at the top of our must-do lists when making dinner. And the usual array of oven barbecue chicken recipes includes a gloppy, overly sweetened and processed sauce that you wouldn’t want to eat anyway. I wanted some tomato, a bit of smoky flavor, a background sweetness and a little heat. You’ll easily tweak it for your particular preferences. If there’s sauce left over, it’s great on grilled beef or pan-roasted pork.
The chicken is first cooked in a skillet to render out the fat on the skin side. Then it’s flipped over and nestled into the sauce to finish cooking on top of the stove. If you baste the top with the simmering sauce, it will soften the skin a bit, but it’s still quite fine. If you run the pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes, you can get back a bit of what’s lost in the steam, but it’s a fast and flavorful dish that will bring the promise of warmer times into your kitchen.
I found some yellow beets this week and thought they’d go nicely with the chicken and while the chicken is cooking, you can actually roast the beets and both will be done at the same time. The addition of some bright green sugar snap peas makes for a satisfying and welcome midweek meal.
Since the Grammys are coming up and the nominations have been announced, the playlist this week features some tunes you might not have checked out yet.