Monday, August 19, 2013

Grilled Pesto Chicken

As men get older, the toys get more expensive.
~ Marvin Davis

First of all,I want to say a big 'Thank you!' to those who commented here and on the GFCF Experience Facebook page with links for my blogroll.  I was able to add several new blogs - up to over 70 now!  I will continue to search for new blogs to add, and will share with you all what I find.

Now, about my new toy...

I posted on the Facebook page a little over a week ago that I was finally moving into the 21st century - I had ordered a food processor.  I had been making do with a box grater and a little electric chopper for a long time, but after spending nearly 30 minutes grating zucchini for yet another batch of zucchini bread, my wife and I agreed the time had come to move up in the world.  We didn't want to just go and get the cheapest one we could find at Walmart, but we wanted one that would be reliable and last for many years, like our Kitchen Aid mixer (almost 15 years and still going strong).  So I turned to my favorite source for reviews of kitchen equipment - the folks at America's Test Kitchen.  And we got a good deal on their top choice - The Cuisinart Custom 14-cup.

Image courtesy

Yes, THIS is my new toy!  Definitely more expensive than the toys of my youth.  Then again, in my youth there was no such thing as an XBox or an I-phone.

It's big - 14 cup capacity!

It's quiet.  Really quiet.

It's exactly what we needed.  

It arrived last Thursday and I have been pretty much been destroying food with it ever since:

  • Pulverized veggies to put into a yummy turkey meatloaf.  May have overdone the processing - but it was my first time.
  • Used a lighter touch and pulsed food into a fine chop for vegetable chili.
  • Used the dough blade to make a pie crust for peach pie.

Which finally brings me to the recipe I am sharing today - grilled pesto chicken.

I had never made pesto before - mainly because I didn't own a food processor and was too lazy to grind it up with a mortar and pestle. But I needed something to season the whole chicken I was planning to grill and conveniently enough I had some pine nuts in the freezer and plenty of basil growing in the front garden.  And, of course, a new food processor.  A few pulses later and enough was made to coat my chicken with plenty left over for pasta this week.

The pesto recipe I used was based on this recipe from a blog called Whipped.  While I obviously could not use the parmesan cheese, the pesto still had amazing flavor and was the perfect marinade for my chicken.

I am laughing because you could probably take this picture and use it to represent almost any grilled whole chicken.  But trust me, it was pesto.  Along with some grilled corn on the cob from a local farm, and some green beans from our garden, it was a delicious Sunday dinner.

Pesto recipe adapted from a recipe at Whipped

Ingredients - Pesto

3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (I toasted mine at 350° for 10 minutes)
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the garlic in the food processor and finely chop.  Add the basil, pine nuts, salt, and pepper, and process, keeping the processor on.  While the ingredients are processing slowly add the olive oil and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in ice cube trays.

Grilled Pesto Chicken

Rinse a whole chicken thoroughly inside and out and pat dry.  Place the chicken on a plate.  Take about 1/2 cup of the pesto and spread it over the chicken, including the back.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

The chicken is grilled using indirect grilling.  For a gas grill, preheat the grill for 10 minutes, then turn off the center burners.  Brush the grill grates with a grill brush.  Carefully lift the grill grates with tongs and place a disposable pan (or a small cookie sheet lined with foil) atop the turned-off burners to catch any drippings.  Fold up a paper towel and, using tongs, dip the paper towel in some oil and oil the grill grates.

Place the chicken on the grill over the drip pan.  Brush any pesto left on the plate onto the chicken.

Close the grill and cook the chicken for 1 - 1.25 hours, checking for doneness after about 50 minutes.  The internal temperature of the chicken should be around 160°.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes to redistribute the juices.  Carve and serve!

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