June 29, 2013
Cook’s Country June/July issue
Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters/Grilled Jalapeño and Lime Shrimp Skewers/Grilled Red Potato Skewers
Cooking for Assholes, you poisonous jerk, calling me a sissy if I put on rubber gloves to chop those jalapeños, you knew, I know you knew, that by saying that, it would be a sufficient enough challenge for me NOT to put those gloves on, and you were right, yep, right as could be. And me, I suffered, ohhhh did I suffer. It didn’t happen instantly, nope, it was about an hour or so later when an itch in my eyes had me rubbing, and suddenly, HOLY FREAKING MOTHER OF GOD!!! BURN!!! MY EYES ARE BURNING!!! MY HANDS ARE BURNING!!! MY MOUTH IS BURNING!!! STOP! STOP! STOP!
June’s cooking challenge came down to the crunch. The month flew by and before I knew it, I had just one day to accomplish my challenge. I frantically scoured the magazines trying to locate the perfect recipe. I didn’t want a recipe that would require a bijillion ingredients we didn’t have, but still I needed a good, strong challenge. After an hour of looking, the decision was made.
With the temperatures rising, it was high time I embrace the flaming beast (also known as the barbecue) no matter how much that sucker freaked the bejesus out of me! And instead of just one recipe, I would tackle three!!! Go big or go home right 😀
The marinades were all fairly straight forward, and not even all that time consuming as has been the case for previous recipes. And aside from the jalapeño torture,* (see note below) I did fairly alright in the preparation stage. It was the barbecue that was the challenge.
Big Ring, who I swear had twitchy hands the entire time I was in front of his barbie, kept telling me that barbecuing isn’t about following a recipe, or being precise in every step, “It’s a feel.” Uhm, hello, Mr. Barbecue, this is ME we’re talking about here, if you want an edible meal, you best be encouraging preciseness!
I didn’t have any flare ups, which apparently is a good thing, but I did burn the hell out of my cute oven mitts, I did sweat buckets in front of that face full of heat, and I did struggle like crazy trying to turn the shrimp and taters on those skewers. Seriously, impossible!
Three quarters of the food on the grill.
I eventually gave up trying to turn them.
Dear Big Ring, I need new oven mitts 😦
Everything I went through to get this meal on the table was 5,000 times worth it! It was by far the hardest challenge to date (my respect for Big Ring and his grilling skills went up ten-fold!) but also the most rewarding. The fresh, lime-infused juiciness of that chicken, and the hot kick of those shrimp, and the creaminess of the potatoes, oh man, my belly was in pure heaven. And I swear, before we’d even finished the meal, Big Ring was already asking me to make it again. Sure, I said, but you’re doing the grilling 😀
(For this post, I am only listing the Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters recipe, but I’ll include the two other recipes in separate posts on the 12 Months of Cooking Challenge page)
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we didn’t have cayenne, so I used hot paprika instead)
4 (10-ounce) chicken leg quarters
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried oregano can be used instead)
1. Combine garlic, salt, sugar, lime zest, 2 teaspoons oil, cumin, pepper, and cayenne in bowl and mix to form paste. Reserve 2 teaspoons garlic paste for dressing.
2. Position chicken skin side up on cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. Leaving drumsticks and thighs attached, make 4 parallel diagonal slashes in chicken: 1 across drumsticks, 1 across leg joints, and 2 across thighs (each slash should reach bone). Flip chicken over and make 1 more diagonal slash across back of drumsticks. Rub remaining garlic paste all over chicken and into slashes. Refrigerate chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
3. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium and turn other burner(s) to low. (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature of 400 to 425 degrees.)
4. Place chicken on cooler side of grill, skin side up. Cover and cook until underside of chicken is lightly browned, 9-12 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook another 7-10 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to hotter side of grill, skin side down, and cook covered until skin is well browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook 3 minutes longer. Transfer to platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, cilantro, oregano, and reserved garlic paste together in bowl. Spoon half of dressing over chicken and serve, passing remaining dressing separately.
*NOTE: The story of the jalapeños: I wasn’t sure how to cut them, so I did what any novice cook would do, I Googled it, and came across http://www.cookingforassholes.com. How perfect, how brilliant, I thought. One hour later, though, I was cursing him. Bastard, and his sissy comment, burned the hell out of my hands for two freaking days!!! And yeah, I am now totally a subscriber to his website 😀