$25/6 meals = $4.16 per serving.
One of the downsides of living in New York is that it’s very hard to barbecue without doing something either unsafe or illegal. While I’m happy to take some risks, I’d rather not find myself with a summons from the city for grilling on the sidewalk. So when I found out I’d be visiting my dad in NH for the week, I checked the weather and decided that overcast skies and 50 degree weather sounded like nearly ideal cookout conditions compared to what I was used to. It was time to fire up the grill.
The Concord, NH Farmer’s Market was not scheduled to open for another month or so and my favorite local farms were closed as well. So we were off to the Concord Co-op which sources vegetables, dairy, eggs and meats from nearby http://www.concordfoodcoop.coop/. I knew we were about to get flooded with the early spring vegetables, but for now, the late winter vegetables would have to do. My father is a big fan of chicken so I wanted to see what might be available.
Misty Knoll is a VT poultry farm that raises very good chickens and turkeys (http://www.mistyknollfarms.com/). For those of you who haven’t grilled a farm raised chicken, the difference in the quality of the meat (particularly the breast meat) is striking. Overly lean factory farmed chicken meat just can’t remain moist and flavorful on a hot grill. Give the better chicken a shot and the difference will be very clear. The Misty Knoll chickens weighed about 3.5 pounds and are sold fresh for around $4.20 a pound. The cost of the bird was $15 and a nice bag of organic parsnips, carrots and sunchokes ran me about $8. We also found a piece of a deliciously sharp raw milk cheese called Landaff ($3), also a NH product (http://landaffcreamery.com/Our%20Cheese.html). It’s nutty and almost a little ‘citrusy’ and would be perfect with a spoonful of jam for dessert. That brought our total grocery bill to $25.
During the summer, I love to grill fish or meat along with lots of summer veggies like yellow squash and peppers. In the winter, I tend to use heartier winter vegetables that work better roasted for a long period of time. I essentially wanted to make a dish on the grill that I usually make in the oven. Not too hard actually. I started by drizzling some olive oil and lemon juice over the cut up chicken and vegetables along with some salt and pepper. Over a hot grill, I cooked the chicken pieces skin side down and then turned them. Then, I added the veggies to the grill and placed the chicken pieces on top. People roast vegetables in the same pan with meats because the juices and fats from the meat flavor the veggies and help them to cook more evenly. Why not try the same thing on the grill? While most of the juices would be lost to the fire, some would no doubt season the vegetables along with the smoke from the fire. When the meal was plated, we realized, we had another chicken breast for the next day along with most of the trimmings and carcass which could very easily be made into a chicken soup for later. We even had a handful of extra sunchokes which could make the soup even nicer. So along with the 3 dinner servings, we had more than enough for at least 3 more lunches or dinners with the leftovers and 0 court appearances for violating the NYC Fire Code.
Slow Grilled Chicken with Winter Vegetables
Cut up one chicken into, wings, legs/thighs, and 2 breast halves
Season all pieces with salt and pepper and drizzle the juice of one lemon over the meat with around a tablespoon of olive oil
Rinse 1.5 pounds of carrots, parsnips, and sunchokes and season them in a bowl as you did the chicken
Preheat a gas grill to high or light a charcoal grill and wait until briquettes are entirely gray
Place chicken skin side down and leave for 5-7 minutes
Scatter seasoned vegetables around the grill, turn chicken pieces and place them on top of vegetables
Cover grill and leave for 25 minutes (15 if using a hot charcoal grill)
Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Breast meat should be around 155 and dark meat closer to 165
If breast meat cooks sooner, remove from grill and cover loosely with foil.
If you’d like, drizzle the cooked chicken and veggies with some additional lemon juice or olive oil.
This meal is best with beer. Drink it. Enjoy.