Weeknight Cooking - May-Aug 2008

By Kathleen and Dan Taggart

Weeknight CookingGrilled Chicken with Herbed Mustard
Serves four per meal

Chicken is relatively easy to grill—especially if the skin is removed first, preventing flare-ups—and leaves the happy cook with fully flavored leftovers that can be used in creative ways. And if grilling is not on your agenda, broiling can accomplish much the same look and texture.

  • 2 whole chickens, about 3½ pounds each
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups lightly packed parsley leaves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a kettle-style charcoal grill or preheat a gas or electric grill. Butterfly the chickens by setting them breast side down on a cutting board. Use a pair of poultry shears, kitchen scissors, or a sharp chef’s knife to cut through chickens from one end to the other on each side of the backbones to remove them. Save the backbones (and any gizzards, hearts, and necks) to freeze for making stock. Spread the chickens out skin-side up and press down firmly to flatten them. Use your fingers and a paper towel to pull the skin off the birds, excepting the wings. If both birds will not fit at once on your grill, cut off the wings and leg-thigh sections so you can fit all the pieces on.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, pepper sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and pepper together. Use your fingers to spread this mixture evenly over both sides of the chickens. Place the chickens on the grill, cover the grill, partially close the top vents so the fire stays medium-hot, and cook for about 13 minutes. Turn, cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers at least 170°F when inserted in the thickest portion of the thigh without touching bone. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes before cutting up and serving. Cool, wrap, and refrigerate reserved chicken for up to 7 days.

Chicken Quesadillas with Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1 can (12 ounces) whole tomatillos, drained and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Anaheim chili
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 flour tortillas, 10 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 thigh and 1 half-breast Grilled Chicken with Herbed Mustard, shredded

Put the tomatillos in a small bowl and stir in all the remaining salsa ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over high heat. Place a tortilla in the pan and sprinkle with one third of the cheese and one third of the chicken. Cover with a second tortilla. When the bottom tortilla is nicely browned, use a wide spatula to turn the quesadilla. Brown the other side. Place on a cutting board. Repeat to cook the other 2 quesadillas. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Arrange the wedges on a warm platter and serve immediately with the salsa.

© Kathleen and Dan Taggart 2008