This class was special today because it was held at the International Community Foundation Organic Gardens. We were toured through the beautiful gardens where they grow organic foods to promote healthy eating and nutrition, with an emphasis on diabetes and obesity prevention among under-served communities in San Diego’s South Bay.
Amongst one of my favorite recipes of the day was the grilled whole chicken on a thick bed of rosemary (and I mean thick....almost like we placed the whole bush on the grill!). It gave such a rich flavor to the chicken and locked in the tenderness and juices resulting in an outstanding chicken dish!
Chicken on a Bed of Rosemary Branches
Author: UCSD Medical Center, Healing Foods Kitchen, written by Brenna Bowers
Makes: 1 whole chicken
1 (3 pound) Whole chicken, thawed
2 Tbs olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch of rosemary (enough to place the whole chicken on a thick bed of rosemary so that it will not touch the grill slats, you may want just part of a whole bush- no joke!)
Salt and Pepper
2 large bricks or rocks, wrapped in foil (Tip 1)
To Do Ahead of Time:
· Butterfly open the chicken and take off the skin using a pair of kitchen scissors. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag with the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and allow it to marinade for at least one hour or up to 4 hours.
· Soak the rosemary branches/bush in water for 30-60 minutes; this will keep your rosemary from burning when it is placed on the hot grill.
· Heat the grill to medium high heat and place the bricks/rocks wrapped in foil on the grill to get them hot.
Turn the grill to medium heat. You do not want to see a flame. Shake off the excess water from the rosemary bush and place it on the grill in the indirect heat (this should be a thick layer of rosemary, so thick you do not see the grill slats any more) (Tip 1). Place the chicken on top of the bed of rosemary, breast side down and place the 2 hot bricks on top of the chicken. Close the lid of the grill and cook the chicken for 8-10 minutes. Open the grill, flip the bird and replace the hot bricks on top. Continue cooking until your meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.
Let the chicken rest 10 minutes off the grill and then carve* the bird. This will lock in the flavorful juices of the chicken!
Tip 1: The large bricks/rocks wrapped in foil will act as a heat source when cooking the chicken. Ahead of time you must put the bricks on the grill and allow them to get nice and hot. They will be placed on top of the chicken as it is cooking and give the chicken a heat source from above. Secondly, the pressure from the bricks/rocks will press the chicken into the rosemary for added flavor.
*Carve is a fancy word for slicing up the bird into pieces/portions.