There is no greater food from the hearth to feed your soul for many people than food prepared on the grill. Barbecuing has been elevated to an art form over the years, and no wonder. It’s a relaxed, abundant way of entertaining and of eating, and it brings to mind all the wonderful things we dream of about summer.
Except I live in England, where we get about two weeks of hot sunny summer in May if we are lucky, and then it rains. Practically constantly. Except for the odd rejoiced over day (rarely on a weekend) that teases us with the promise of what summer might be. We Brits are experts in rainy barbecues and picnics in the rain. And yes, we do have fun. Lots and lots of it – generally aided and abetted by copious amounts of champagne or Pimms with strawberries and cream, which are THE summer food of the nation that doesn’t really have much of a summer. The Season has started already with Royal Ascot, and is in full swing with Wimbledon starting today. (And no, it wasn’t really sunny, but it didn’t rain and it wasn’t actually cold, and for that, we are incredibly grateful!)
Here in England, grill recipes that also work indoors are the best possible summer food. (Contingency plans are our speciality, and despite the weather, summer is a key season for entertaining.) This is one of those. Devised by the lovely Ina Garten, it is designed to be cooked on a grill in the gorgeous summers of the Eastern Seaboard, but I found it works equally well in a frying pan on a rainy evening in the Berkshire countryside, luxuriating in a tablespoon or so of butter and lots of the lovely marinade. One day I will try it on a barbecue, when the weather permits!
You can find Ina’s lovely recipe here. I deviate from it a little, using a bit less garlic, substituting a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for the tablespoon of chili powder, and leaving out the jalepeno. Of course, if you are one of those folks who likes it hot, follow Ina’s lead and go for it! Either way, letting the chicken luxuriate in the marinade for as long as possible makes it really tender and delicious, although I only left it for about six hours instead of the prescribed eight. The leftovers are really delicious too, fantastic in a salad or a sandwich, and something to really look forward to.
So if you are looking for a comforting and delicious recipe, suitable for grill or indoor cooking, with a great flavour and a bit of a kick, check this one out. You will be very glad you did!