Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Olive-Brined Chicken with Grilled Onions and Pimenton Oil

Are you looking for a great chicken recipe to serve for a 4th of July Barbeque? I have just the recipe for you. How do I know? I served this chicken for 4th of July last year, and I received rave reviews from my guests. Best of all, this chicken is easy to make for a crowd.

I found this recipe in Food & Wine’s July 2008 issue. Chef Paul Virant (a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2007) created this recipe, which he served with Warm Potato Salad with Arugula (among other recipes) for his 4th July magazine spread. I’ve made this chicken several times in the past year, and I can’t get over how moist the brined chicken is. The herbs de Provence in the brine give the chicken an almost flowery flavor, and the pimenton makes chicken deliciously smoky. The two flavors combine with the tart lemon juice and olives to create a complex dish that is simply delicious. I highly recommend Olive-Brined Chicken with Grilled Onions and Pimenton Oil.

Olive-Brined Chicken with Grilled Onions and Pimenton Oil
From Paul Virant in Food & Wine
2 quarts water
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup herbs de Provence
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup pitted Spanish green olives, smashed
10 fresh bay leaves
12 chicken drumsticks
12 chicken thighs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons pimenton de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 large sweet onions, sliced ½ inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, sliced
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan, and simmer until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine into a very large glass bowl and cool to room temperature. I poured the brine into two gallon Ziplock bags after if cooled. Add the chicken to the brine, seal the bags and refrigerate overnight.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the oil, pimenton and 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme, and place over moderate heat until the mixture is hot.

Light a grill. Brush the onion slices with the pimenton oil, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of thyme. Grill the onions over moderately high heat until lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the onions to a platter, and separate the rings. Toss the onions with the sliced olives, parsley and 2 tablespoons of the pimenton oil.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Grill the chicken over moderate heat, turning often until the skin is nicely charred and the meat is cook through, about 25 minutes. Brush the chicken with the pimenton oil and place the chicken on the platter with the onions. Serve.

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