OBy far our most popular meat, poultry is an excellent choice for the grill (although a plea to seek the best you can afford, as no other meat has been more factory farmed than the birds for our tables). In general, birds are always better cooked indirectly, away from the blazing heat of the fire, more gently and longer. If you speed up the cooking and burn the outside, you risk an still raw inside that will never bring you the best food. For this purpose, a temperature probe is a very useful tool – we have such an innate fear of undercooked poultry that we often go in the opposite direction and get dry results; A probe gives you peace of mind that it was done just right.
Chicken thighs stuffed with pistachios and apricots with fennel salad (pictured above)
Here, chicken thighs are partially deboned (just the thigh piece) so you can stuff them with a delicious filling. This makes flipping them a little tricky on the grill, so if you have a fish cage this will hold them a little more securely when you line them up in it. If not, just be extra generous with the cocktail sticks to slip into—you’ll need 12-16 in total.
preparation 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour 30 minutes
50g shelled pistachios
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander seeds
A pinch of chilli flakes (Optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onionpeeled and chopped
1 clove of garlicpeeled and crushed
50g dried apricotsfinely chopped
A few sprigs of flat-leaf parsleychopped
A few sprigs of dillchopped
4 chicken drumsticks
sea salt flakes black pepper
For the salad
1 small bulb of fennel (approx. 200 g), trimmed and thinly sliced
2 heads of red chicory (endive), thinly sliced
100 g radishthinly sliced
A truly generous handful of soft fresh herbs (I used dill, parsley and cilantro), chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sugartaste good
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios for a few minutes, then invert onto a board, chop finely, and place in a medium-sized bowl. In the same pan, toast the cumin, coriander, and chili flakes, if using, for a minute, place in a mortar, crush coarsely, and add to the nutshell.
Pour the olive oil into the pan, return to a low heat and gently sauté the onion, stirring frequently, until well tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic, stir briefly, then add to the nut and spice mixture. Add the chopped apricots and herbs, season well and let cool while you prepare the chicken thighs.
Place one leg skin-side down on a board. With a small, sharp knife, make a cut along the thighbone to the joint where it meets the drumstick. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the meat off the bone, working down from the top of the leg, then cut through the joint. Pull out and discard the thigh bone (or save for the broth), leave the drumstick bone in place, and then cut a pocket in the deepest part of the thigh meat to open it up a bit — like this fits more stuffing. Repeat with the other three legs.
Place some apricot mixture in each pocket, wrap the meat around the filling, and then use three or four cocktail sticks to secure each leg together.
Fire up the grill and prepare for indirect grilling. Place the chicken skin-side down on the grill rods, away from the fire, and indirectly grill, turning once or twice to ensure even cooking, for about 40 minutes. Use a meat probe to check doneness – chicken is technically safe at 74C, but I think the legs benefit from taking it past that to around 85C.
Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and serve with the cooked chicken.
Turkey meatball skewers with fennel and bean stew
The meatballs benefit from a little chill in the fridge to help them sit firmly on the skewers. You will also need four to six metal skewers.
preparation 15 minutes
Relax 1 hr+
Cook 1 H
2 tbsp fennel seeds
500gr ground turkey
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika powdertaste good
1 fatty garlic clovepeeled and crushed
salt and black pepper
1 zucchinicut into 1 cm thick slices
olive oilto drizzle
For the fennel
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-sized fennel bulbs (approx. 500 g), cut through the root into thin wedges
1 red onionpeeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlicpeeled and crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes (Optional)
2 x 400g Cans of borlotti beansdrained and rinsed
juice of 2 lemons
100 g butterrolled
A good handful of dillchopped
Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Place in a mortar, grind and place in a bowl. Add the turkey, paprika, garlic, a teaspoon of salt and a good pinch of pepper, then mix well with your hands – this will make the mixture sticky and help it stick to the skewers. Divide into golf ball-sized pieces and roll tightly, placing the meatballs on a baking sheet.
When you’ve formed all the meatballs, thread them and the zucchini slices alternately onto skewers, then shape the meatballs a little more so they’re about the same diameter as the zucchini. Place the skewers on a baking sheet and refrigerate for an hour or two; longer (up to 24 hours) wouldn’t hurt if you want to get ahead.
When you’re ready to cook, fire up the grill, ready for direct and indirect grilling. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the fennel wedges, season with a little salt and pepper, then grill over direct heat for a few minutes on each side, until lightly charred. Transfer to a plate.
Place a large, deep, ovenproof skillet or roasting pan on the grill bars directly over the fire and pour in a few more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, give a quick stir, then close the grill lid and cook until tender and slightly golden, about 15 minutes depending on how hot your coals are (if they stick too quickly, just push the pan further away) . the hot coals). Add the charred fennel slivers, garlic and red pepper flakes, if using, to the onions, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in 250ml water, cover with cling film and replace the grill lid. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender but still slightly al dente, then remove the foil and stir in the beans, lemon juice, butter, and most of the dill (saving a little for garnish). Slide the pan over the indirect fire to gently simmer while you grill the meatball skewers.
Drizzle a little oil over each skewer and place on the grill sticks just above the fire. Cook, turning regularly, until a probe inserted deep into one of the meatballs reads 74°C for 15 minutes (cooking with the lid closed when you’re not turning the skewers increases the efficiency of the fire). Place the cooked skewers over the skillet with fennel and beans and sprinkle with the remaining dill just before serving.
Recipes from Seared: The Ultimate Guide to Barbecuing Meat, by Genevieve Taylor, published by Quadrille for £20. To order a copy for £17.40 go to guardianbookshop.com