Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grilled Beer Can Chicken and Smashed Purple Potatoes with Zucchini Italiano



Photos:
Weber Chicken Roaster (Weber.com)
Zucchini Italiano and Purple Smashed Potatoes on the Grill (Lexi Van de Walle)

With a nod and special thanks to a family friend who blogs over on Moderate Epicurean, Stephanie Meyer Levy, this One Local Summer meal by me, the Lighthearted Locavore, was made from recipes from two of her favorite cookbooks and used techniques that I learned from her excellent research and blog reporting. Check out Stephanie's blog -- she writes about the recipes she cooks -- from awesome cookbooks or recipes that she's created -- often using local food that she buys in Minneapolis or picks up from her CSA. She also writes about the mouthwatering Minneapolis/St. Paul restaurant scene and her lovely family's food adventures. Her photos are beautifully styled too boot! She's an inspiration to foodies, locavores, and food bloggers alike!

Enough about Stephanie and onto the cookbooks, techniques, recipes and tools....

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Two Favorite Cookbooks


Two Techniques That I Learned from the Moderate Epicurean blog - more on Kitchen Tools below

-- "Beer Can" Chicken using a Weber Grill Brand Poultry Roaster
-- Grilling on high heat using a cast-iron skillet or griddle or "Chapa"

MENU
-- Grilled "Beer Can" Chicken Seasoned with Kosher Salt, Paprika, Crushed Red Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Coriander
-- Zucchini Italiano (inspired by Perla Meyers recipe for Zucchini l'italienne on page 180)
-- Smashed Long Island Purple Potatoes (inspired by Francis Mallman's Smashed Potato recipe on page 170)

RECIPES
Super Moist Grilled "Beer Can" Chicken

1 whole local chicken (ours was from Chubby Bunny Farm)
1/2 cup of wine or beer (I used Southampton Publick House India Pale Ale)
3 tablespoons of herbs (such as parsley or rosemary), chopped to release oils
Kosher salt
Paprika
Crushed Red Pepper
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
Ground Coriander

Preheat grill to 350 degrees (medium heat). Wash and dry chicken. Sprinkle generously with all of the seasonings. Fill the "cup" on the Weber Chicken Roaster or soda/beer can with beer or wine and chopped herbs. Place large opening of chicken cavity on the roaster or beer can. Close the top and smaller opening with the plug provided with the Weber Roaster or with aluminum foil. Place roaster on the grill directly (or if using a beer can, place the can into a disposable aluminum pan/drip tray to catch the fat and close the top of the grill. Monitor the grill temperature, lowering if needed, so as not to cook the bird too quickly. Check chicken periodically using a meat thermometer -- when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees it is done. Cook time varies depending on the temperature and size of the bird -- anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes!!! Remove chicken to a platter and let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Carve and serve.

Colorful Vegetarian Zucchini Italiano (adapted from Perla Meyers)*
Locally Grown Produce:
12 small zucchini or 4-6 small ones
1 cup of blanched swiss chard
2 medium or 4 small tomatoes

Additional Ingredients:
1/3 cup of pine nuts
3 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon to create a well for stuffing -- be careful not to break the zucchini. Salt and pepper. Blanch chopped swiss chard or spinach in boiling water until just wilted, drain and dry on paper towels. Butter a large baking dish and place zucchini halves cut side up. Squeeze excess water out of swiss chard and overstuff zucchinis with swiss chard. Top swiss chard with tomato pieces, pine nuts, and grated parmesan cheese and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 18-25 minutes, depending on the size of the zucchinis, until zucchini is cooked through. Serve.

* Meyers recipe calls for both bacon and proscuitto ham -- delicious!

Simple Smashed (Purple) Potatoes**
1 1/2 lbs. purple new potatoes (I got mine at Hank's Farmstand in Southampton) -- red or white can be substituted
2 tablespoons of local white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons local butter
Coarse Kosher salt
Pepper

Cut the potatoes into roughly equal pieces so they will cook evenly. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add the vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are tender -- test periodically with a fork so as not to overcook. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel -- be careful not to burn yourself -- the potatoes are hot. Gently "smash" the potatoes with a potato masher or hit lightly with a mallet while they are hot or they will break and not "smash". You are trying to smash the potatoes with one stroke of the potato masher or mallet -- you are NOT trying to mash them. Heat a "chapa" or large cast-iron skillet or grill over a medium heat on your outdoor or indoor grill -- until a "drop of water sizzles on the surface" according to Mallman. Melt half the butter in the pan and then add the potatoes and cook until they are crisp -- approximately 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate being careful to keep the cooked side down on the plate. Add remaining butter to the pan then flip uncooked side of the potatoes into the pan to cook the second side. Brown for another 5 minutes or so being careful not to burn. Salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.

** Mallman's recipe is for smashed potatoes made with olive oil and an olive tapenade. I chose to use butter and skip the tapenade as my family is not an "olive family".

KITCHEN TOOLS
Weber Grill Poultry Roaster
Similar to the “beer can” grilling method the Weber Grill Poultry Roaster allows you to roast a chicken on the grill upright while infusing the bird with a cooking liquid so the meat stays moist and tender. The roaster is an easy-to-clean aluminum base tray with a reservoir for liquid such as wine, beer, juice or water and fresh herbs and spices.

Chapa
According the Mallman a chapa is "a flat piece of cast iron set over a fire" "you can use a cast-iron skillet or griddle placed over a barbecue grate which in turn is placed over a wood, charocoal or gas fire". She says "in a way, a chapa is a shelter for a fire, a 'roof over its head', and continues "It's the method that I use most often in the recipes in this book" (Seven Fires).

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