Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cookin Cutie Goes Paleo?

So, has anyone ever heard of the Paleo Diet?  Well, if not, you should check it out.  It's not so much of a diet to lose weight as it is a way to eat food that is actually good for your body (weight loss, clear skin, more energy, and more muscle tone are just some of the benefits!).  Anyway, I don't want to get on a soapbox and explain all the details here.  If you are interested, leave a comment and I'd be happy to talk more about it! 

Anyway, in an attempt to live a healthier lifestyle, I'm attempting to eat foods that are actually good for me!  I found this recipe in some magazine a while ago. I ripped it out, though, so I really don't remember where it came from, but it sounded yummy, and it fit with the Paleo thing!
I've heard of a lot of people cooking chicken under a brick, and I'm not really sure what's so cool about it, but I thought I'd give this a try!

* 1 cup fresh orange juice
* 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
* 2 tbs olive oil
* 3 tsp salt, divided
* 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
* 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 1 clove garlic, chopped
* 1 whole chicken ( about 3 3/4 lbs) - butterflied
* 1 tsp paprika
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 1 1/2 oranges
* 2 foil wrapped bricks or something heavy to press the chicken down

I started this on Saturday night, but actually grilled it today.  I like giving meat a long time to really soak up all of the marinade juices and flavors!

Basically, I mixed up the rosemary, juices, olive oil, oregano, and 1 tsp of the salt in a glass baking dish.  Easy enough, right?

I bought a whole chicken from Whole Foods, but I had to butterfly or spatchcock the chicken myself.  That's always a fun experience haha. 

Basically, you flip the chicken upside down so the backbone is facing up.... then, you snip out the backbone.  It's kinda weird, because you need kitchen shears and you are literally cutting through the bones, but you need to just forget that the carcass you are mutilating was a living, breathing animal :)  Anyway, make sure you keep the backbone, because you can use it to make yummy chicken stock.  Home made is always better than store bought!


After the chicken has been violated and the marinade has been mixed, I just threw the chicken in the marinade and covered it with some plastic wrap to soak overnight.  The recipe said you only have to marinate it for 2 hours, but I wanted to keep it longer.

About an hour before I was ready to grill the chicken, I took it out of the fridge to come to room temperature.  When you grill or cook any meat, you want it to be room temperature.  If the inside is cold, then the chicken won't cook evenly, which, especially when working with chicken, is no bueno.

While I was waiting for the chicken to come to room temperature, I mixed up the paprika, 2 tsp salt, and the pepper in a small bowl.  Then, I took the mixture and rubbed it all over the outside of the chicken.  I also sliced up the orange. 

Once the orange is sliced up, you loosen the skin away from the chicken and you slide the orange into the space between the skin and meat.  Now, you've already butchered the chicken, so adding the orange beneath the skin isn't that bad in comparison!

So, now you have a mutilated chicken who has been rubbed in a red spice mixture and had oranges shoved in every place possible.  It's time to heat up the grill! 

I heated up the grill to medium heat (if it's too high, you will burn the outside and leave the inside raw!).  I took the chicken and placed it breast side down on the grill.  I immediately heard the sizzle of the chicken which means yumminess is to come!


Now, you are supposed to use a brick, hence the name chicken under a brick.  However, I don't have a brick.  In the past, I used my tea kettle filled with water to weigh down the chicken.  Unfortunately, my tea kettle is gone. (long story... there will be a post about it!)  So, I used my cast iron grill pan - which weighs a lot- to weigh the thing down. 


So here's the chicken hiding under the foil and the grill pan!  It's sizzling the whole time.

After about 12 minutes, I  lifted up the grill pan and flipped the chick over to cook on the other side.

 The skin was all charred and crispy.  The picture in the article I ripped out of the magazine has skin that is black and crispy like this, but, surprise, surprise, it looks yummier in the magazine.  Anyway, I flipped the bird ( haha flipped the bird!) over and let the other side cook for about 5 minutes. 

Here's the delicious little chicken all cooked and ready to be eaten! I grilled up some asparagus and some mushrooms too. 

So here it is, a perfectly Paleo (I think) meal.  I had some chicken and grilled mushrooms and asparagus.  It was really yummy!  I liked how the chicken turned out. It wasn't the best chicken recipe that I've ever had, but it was pretty flavorful and it filled me up, which is, afterall, the purpose of a yummy meal. 

I'm still experimenting with this whole paleo thing, but look for more yummy recipes to come.  Does this mean that I won't ever bake cookies again?  What about pasta? Not necessarily... However, if I can create delicious meals that are good for me and taste amazing too, then why wouldn't I?

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