A few weeks ago I shared Sandy’s Barbecue Sauce with you, and I hope you’ve tried it by now. I would be remiss if I didn’t give equal time to my husband’s barbecued chicken. Of course, it’s Italian style. Why would it not be? He just has to turn everything, even something as American as barbecued chicken, into something Italian. I will agree that all over Italy (especially the countryside) you will see open fire pits for cooking outdoors. This is indeed very popular in Italy. His remembrance of this recipe is from his childhood, helping his mother kill a chicken in the backyard, and then marinating it to the get the gamey taste out before cooking it over the outdoor fire (or indoor fireplace, for that matter). They lived in the countryside, raising animals for food so this of course did not seem grotesque at all for a child. This was a way of life.
So now, we are after that same fresh, farm raised (no antibiotics, etc.) flavor when we go to the supermarket to purchase chicken for our families. Local, farm to table certainly is popular now, and with good reason. We want our food as fresh as possible, and we want as pure as possible. We want our chicken to taste like chicken, as we do all our meats and produce. I could go on a real rant right about here, but I’ll refrain. Let me just share with you a wonderful marinade that will make your chicken taste simply delightful and wish you a “buon appetito.”
I have to let you in on his secret, which I just found out the other night. Before putting the chicken on the grill, he bakes it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. When I caught him in the act, he denied it at first, but I do believe this might be the key to this moist, succulent chicken. Hmm, I wonder if he learned this is Italy. Doubtful!
RECIPE: serves 4
4 LBS of chicken, either a whole chicken cut in pieces, or pieces of your choice
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
juice of two lemons and another lemon or two.
3-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP Kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1. Put chicken in large pan. Spread the salt, pepper and oregano all over it. Pour the lemon juice all over it.
2. Wait a few minutes to let all these ingredients take hold. Then add the olive oil, vinegar and garlic, and turn to coat on all sides. You can add a little more salt and oregano if desired.
3. Let the chicken marinate, covered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and of course, the longer the better.
4. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Now you’re ready to put the chicken on the grill. Turn often and remember, you don’t have to cook it quite so long since it’s already partially cooked. When the chicken is done, squeeze more lemon all over and serve. It’s great right off the grill, but also wonderful at room temperature.