Tastes of the Med: Pollo al rosmarino

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The woody, pine scented herb that grows in great abundance in the Mediterranean begins to take center stage in dishes through the fall and winter seasons. Precisely because of its hardiness, it can withstand high heat cooking (grilling and roasting) or even slow cooking (braising) without losing any of its flavor. It is the ideal herb for marinating, penetrating meat with ease. It also happens to be a beautiful garnish that, when used as an ingredient in the dishes, augments the smell and color of the finished plate.

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Perfect with pork, it matches superbly with chicken, in taste and presentation. We often think of grilling as being brown and colorless so it really matters how you grill it and what you serve it with. We like to prepare Cerines Couscous, a year-round Mediterranean classic that pairs fantastically with grilled chicken. Add in an insalata di pomodori maltagliati and you’ve got not just a colorful plate but a colorful table.

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Pollo al rosmarino

serves 6-8

In a large bowl, combine:
18-20 chicken thighs9-10 sprigs of rosemary
6 cloves of garlic, crushed in large pieces
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil

Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or no more than a few hours. Refrigerate if standing at room temperature for longer than 30 minutes.

Skewer the chicken thighs by folding each in half and placing the half of a sprig of rosemary in the interior fold. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the skewers into a large serving bowl. Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and some parsley. Serve immediately.

Tips for success:
•When cooking with chicken, bone-in cuts are really the best. Boneless breasts tend to dry out on the grill. We’ve found that chicken thighs are the most flavorful when grilled, as the dark meat best absorbs the flavors of the marinade and thus stays moist and juicy even after 40 minutes on the grill. If you can get thighs without the bone or if you want to de-bone them yourself, it’s nice not having to deal with the bone. However, the flavor of the chicken thigh–with or without the bone—is the same. It comes down to a matter of cost and convenience.•For a healthier version, remove the skin after cooking. If you want to remove it before grilling, be sure to watch the thighs in the last 10 minutes of cooking to avoid excessive browning. Without the protect skin, the thighs are at risk of overcooking if left on too long.

Tips for using the myGrill™ Chef SMART:
•Gas grilled meats tend to blacken because of contact with direct flame and flare-ups from fat whereas foods cooked over wood coals tend to stay golden brown because of their even heat, though still high. With the insulated interior of the myGrill™ Chef SMART grill, not only is the heat source coming from the bottom but from the side walls, too. This avoids the disappointing grilled chicken–which tends to get tough and dried out on other grills—and instead helps the rotating food cook more evenly.
•Use the Auto function and choose “Chicken”. Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the thighs have developed a golden color. If you think it needs a bit more time, it is done. As long as the internal temperature (use an instant read thermometer if you are unsure) measures 60°C / 140°F, it is safe to eat. You want them to be moist and juicy, not dried out. The meat will still be slightly pink and the juices will run clear nearest the bone, if using that cut.

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