Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mashed Butternut Squash, Braised Leeks and Grilled Lemons
Smith and Smith Farms must have some kind of magic coop (disco ball, mood lighting?). It was easily the best chicken I have purchased at the market. Beautiful bird. Snow white skin and gorgeous legs.
I brined the bird (1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 gallon of water) for 24 hours. Dried it off and cut it into its component parts: breasts, thighs, legs, wings (discarding the wing tips).
The difference between roasted squash and boiled squash is stunning. Lately, I have been boiling and mashing (just like I would potatoes). Roasting can make the vegetable so sweet,that it dominates other items on the plate. I peel, cube and boil (in salted water) till soft, then mash with a fork. Toss in Thyme, butter and taste. If I can’t taste any salt, I add more until I can.
The chicken and the lemons are slow grilled over Oak. No need to rush this part of the process. Pour some wine and splash some into the fire for all the chicken homies. The chicken should cook for around 10 -15 minutes. There is nothing worse than beautifully charred chicken that is raw on the inside. Be sure your fire temp is right when you’re cooking.
While this is going on, leeks are braising in Vermouth. They take around 20-30 minutes to get soft. They they are cut lenghwise to garnish the chicken. Their sweet and tangy flavor pairs well with the acidity of the lemon chicken.
You are probably wondering where the ‘lemon garlic’ part is going to come in. I have made this dish 10 different ways and the flavor always seems to get lost by the end of the process. My solution is to toss the chicken, hot off the grill into a bowl of olive oil, smashed garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. As the chicken rests, it soaks up the flavors. When in doubt, why not just mainline the flavors!