Several people in my Saturday morning long run group are starting to gear up for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. I’m still pretty sure I never want to run a marathon but I do enjoy doing a bit higher mileage to a point. Two weeks ago, four of us gathered bright and early for a hilly and hot 13 mile run. I already had a mile and a half under my belt by the time I met up with my running buddies which made that run a total of 14.5 miles for me, the longest run of 2012. While I was really happy to get into some longer long runs, I wasn’t very smart running wise that week. I had added a mile or two to my usual Tuesday and Thursday tempo runs, and therefore ended the week having run a little over 47 miles. Due to a little vacation the previous week, I had only run 27 miles and my highest mileage week prior to that was 43 miles. Needless to say my legs weren’t quite ready for that 47 mile week. Despite taking an ice bath and massaging my legs after the long run, I still went through the next day feeling more sluggish than usual and my legs felt like someone had tied 15 pound weights to my quads.
In hopes of putting some pep into my step, both literally and figuratively, I pored through my cookbooks in search of a comforting and protein filled Sunday dinner. Although I thought I had settled on the most perfect to roast chicken several years ago and would never want to make roast chicken any other way, I couldn’t stop coming back to Andrew Carmellini’s Marinated Chicken Alla Griglia in Urban Italian. I really liked the idea of marinating the chicken in a roasted garlic puree, various herbs, and a dash of dried red pepper flakes for some added kick. And despite the amount of time needed to marinate the chicken, the recipe didn’t really seem too complicated or time-consuming. For sides I took Andrew Carmellini up on his suggestion and served the chicken with Zucchini Bagna Calda and Potatoes Girarrosto-Style.
When everything came together, I had one of the best meals I have made in quite a while. After marinating for only five hours, the chicken was juicy and flavorful. The skin was crisp and I really loved the mix of garlic and herbs with a bit of tang from the rice vinegar and spice from the red pepper flakes. I may have found a new favorite roast chicken.
Marinated Chicken Alla Griglia (from Urban Kitchen)
2 heads garlic
1/2 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup and one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 grapeseed oil or corn oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons plus a pinch salt
1 teaspoon plus a pinch coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 whole chicken, halved
1/2 teaspoon each of salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
Roast the garlic:
Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut across the top of each head of garlic to expose some of the garlic flesh. Place each garlic head cut-side up on a piece of tinfoil big enough to easily wrap it. Sprinkle each garlic head with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up in the foil, making a Hershey’s Kiss shape. Bake on a baking tray on the center rack in the oven until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool the garlic in the fridge or freezer until it’s cool to the touch. (The garlic can hold in the fridge for up to 3 days at this stage.)
Make the marinade:
Pick up each garlic head by the bottom and squeeze the meat into a fine sieve. With the back of a spoon, press the meat of the garlic through the sieve into a medium sized bowl. Be sure to scoop the remnants from the underside of the sieve ino the bowl. Discard the skins.
Add vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, oregano, rosemary, lemon slices, red pepper flakes, sugar, and remaining salt and pepper into bowl with garlic puree. Mix well.
Marinate the chicken:
Place the chicken halves in a large container and pour the marinade over the top. Layer lemon slices on top of chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Roast the chicken:
Turn broiler onto high. Place the chicken halves on a roasting rack and broil them until the skins are crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 425° and bake the chicken until the juice runs clear when you stick a leg with a knife, about 30 minutes.
Serve immediately. Leftovers make great chicken salad.