The days, thankfully, are once again sunny. It's time to dust the trusty barbecue and wake it from its hibernation. It's been dormant for long enough.
My husband and I just love cooking in the barbie and miss it so much in the winter months. Our barbecue is strategically located next to our kitchen. I mean, really next to our kitchen. It is a gas fired barbie with lava rocks. It lights up instantly and heats up in a few minutes. The lava rocks give the food cooked on it a delicious chargrilled flavour. Even if still a bit cold, we can fire it up, put something on it, then seek refuge in the kitchen and watch through the window. We are such barbie fanatics.
One of our favourite things to grill is chicken. It can take any seasoning and always turns out nice. I like cooking it in halves rather than in portions because I find that the meat turns out more juicy and succulent that way. I know that there are worries about undercooked meat and salmonella poisoning. I cook the chicken with piri piri (Portuguese grilled chicken) seasonings in the oven beforehand, not only to pre-cook it but also to make it absorb the flavours of the marinade. Then all it takes is 30-40 minutes in the barbecue to give you a really juicy, tender and tasty chicken.
1 whole free range chicken
grated zest and juice of one lime
2 tbsps. brandy
2 tbsps. of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each of chopped fresh thyme and oregano or 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. chilli powder (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsps. honey
Cut the chicken in half. Put all of the ingredients, except for the honey, together in a roasting pan together with the chicken. Distribute the marinade all over the chicken, pushing it into the exposed breast meat. Leave to marinade for at least half an hour. This can sit in the fridge overnight. Bring it up to room temperature before cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil, making a pleat in the middle so that the foil doesn't touch the chicken. Roast for 40 minutes.
Pre-heat your barbecue before the end of the roasting time. Transfer the chicken halves to the barbecue at the end of the roasting time, and grill it on medium low for 30-40 minutes, basting with the pan juices occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, brush the chicken all over with honey. Chop into serving portions and serve with paprika rice, potatoes or couscous.
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