The Main Menu: Chicken recipes help to welcome back outdoor dining

Roast chicken on the barbecue is on the menu now that the warm weather has arrived.


Finally! We have been waiting a long time for this opportunity – to share a meal with friends on the patio, and I believe it is getting closer as we continue to live with the rules surrounding COVID-19.

It is such a simple thing, but is has been greatly missed! When we are officially granted our “new freedoms”, you will probably want to ”dine out” regularly.

Keep this easy, yet tasty recipe handy for scrumptious summer food – roast chicken on the barbecue.

Save time – do two birds at once. One to serve hot and succulent and the other, to serve a day later as a luscious, chicken asparagus salad with our own Ontario asparagus.

Welcome back to entertaining!

Roast Chicken on the Barbecue

Use 2 small (1.5 kg each) supermarket chickens or one butcher shop chicken (2.5 kg) for this foolproof recipe. (Air-chilled give the best results.) Treat yourself to a foil roasting pan to streamline the process. You can discard after use, no clean-up required!

2 or 1 roasting chicken (2.5 kg) preferably air-chilled
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra- virgin olive oil
1 lemon
2 cloves, crushed garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme or 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh washed parsley
Sea salt and fresh black pepper

Pre-heat barbecue to medium-high. Prepare roasting pan (foil or metal) with a rack. If chicken is trussed with string; remove string. Place chicken(s) on rack. Remove any excess fat from chicken in the cavity. Discard.

Drizzle oil evenly over chicken. Grate lemon rind over chicken; cut lemon in half; squeeze half the juice over chicken and place the used lemon in chicken cavity for flavour.
Gently ease skin a little from chicken breast and place garlic on breast meat; replace skin.

Sprinkle the outside of chicken with thyme, salt and pepper.

Place the fresh parsley and any other fresh herbs inside the chicken cavity.

Pour water into the roasting pan, about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Cover chicken with barbecue weight aluminum foil, sealing edges of foil around roasting pan.

Put on rack in pre-heated barbecue and place lid down. Roast ½ hour; reduce heat to medium and continue cooking 45 – 55 minutes (depends on size of bird) or until chicken is golden brown; legs wiggle easily and internal temperature is 185 F.

Remove chicken from barbecue and let stand covered 10 minutes before carving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If doing 2 birds, refrigerate the 2nd for another use. Serves 4.

Chicken Asparagus and Almond Salad

This salad may be made with or without cooked fusilli pasta, depending if you want a more substantial salad.

If you are in a pinch for time, use a barbecued supermarket chicken in this recipe.

1 cooked chicken (1.5 kg)
8 oz (1/2 lb) cooked fusilli pasta (use pkg directions for cooking)
1 lb (500 g)) fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded
1/4 lb (60 g) snow peas, washed and touch ends removed
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced and cut in half
1/2 cup (125 mL) natural almonds, toasted (toast, at 350 F for 10 minutes)

Tarragon Basil Dressing

1/2 cup (125 mL) each chopped cooking onion and fresh parsley
2 tbsp (25 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) each, dried tarragon and dried basil (if using fresh, double quantity, wash, dry chop)
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup (75 mL) cider vinegar
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

Remove and discard chicken skin. Remove all meat from the bones.

Do not chop the chicken meat but tear it into generous bite sized pieces and place in large mixing bowl with the following: cooled, cooked fusilli pasta (if using,) cooked asparagus (2 minutes) cool and slice into 1 ½ inch (3.7 cm) pieces and snow peas, chopped green onions, red pepper and almonds.

Toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Meanwhile prepare dressing: In a food processor, combine onion, parsley, sugar, tarragon, basil and garlic. Chop using motor. Then with motor running, use feed tube to add vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Pour into jar and refrigerate until ready to toss with salad. Dressing may be made several days in advance.

Toss salad with about ½ of dressing and taste. Add more dressing if necessary. Any dressing left, may be kept covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Serve salad piled on large platter or individual plates garnished with fresh parsley or basil. Serves 6.

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