Chimichurri Grilled Chicken

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For the best grilled proteins in the world, look no further than Argentina.  Those folks know how to grill.  Everything is delicious, and everything is a celebration, filled with friends, family, and a leisurely approach to grilling that ends in smoky perfection.

This recipe, from our friends at the New Pine Cafe (otherwise known as Karl and Laurie's house), celebrates the freshness and flavor of Argentina with a spectacular chimichurri marinade.  If you've not had chimichurri before, it's like a more liquid version of pesto... simple to make and alive with flavor.  

Here's how they do it at the New Pine Cafe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or substitute a spatchcock if you'd like)
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro (or fresh oregano if you don't like cilantro)
  • 1/2 c flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 c chopped mint leaves
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 6 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Dash dried red chili flakes

Combine fresh herbs and garlic in a bowl.  In another bowl, whip lemon juice and olive oil into an emulsion.  Pour emulsion over the herbs, mix together, add kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and red chili flakes to taste.

Reserve some of the chimichurri for later.  Pour the rest into a container you can seal, add the chicken, toss it to coat, and let it marinate for 30 minutes up to 6 hours.

Classically, in Argentina they grill over a wood fire, set alight early and allowed to burn down to beautifully glowing coals.  Here, we tend to use a gas grill.  Get all burners going on HIGH heat.  When you're ready to put the chicken on the grill, turn one side of the grill OFF and put the chicken on that side (indirect heat).  Grill, turning once, until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast reads 160-degrees.  

Remove from the grill, cover with a foil tent and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Serve with reserved chimichurri over top, along with a fresh garden salad, French bread and good wine.

NOTE:

This chimichurri works well with beef.  Substitute a good red wine for the lemon juice.  
A little fresh rosemary or thyme are good adds to the chimichurri, if you'd like.