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Grilled Chicken with Apricots, Red Onion + Basil Recipe

Excerpted from ‘Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit’ by Abra Berens


spinner image grilled chicken with apricots, red onion and basil on two plates
EE Berger

Serves 4

One of the first big meals I ever made with my friend and mentor Rodger Bowser was a dinner celebrating a local farm that raised incredible heritage chickens. While the chickens were the star, the apricot salad that went along with them was a scene stealer. This dish made its way into my mind and now it just seems intuitive to pair these flavors together. It wasn’t until I made the same meal (or similar, bent through the lens of time) and a dinner guest asked, “Where do you come up with these combos?” that I realized I built my repertoire from years of cooking with others (and great ingredients). Thanks, Rodger.

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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds of apricots, halved and pits removed
  • 5 sprigs basil

 

Directions

Break down the chicken into quarters: Set the chicken, breast side-up with legs pointing at you. Cut between the leg and the bottom of the breast and start to separate the two. Flip the bird over and pop the hip joint of the chicken by lifting the leg quarter up until you hear the ball-socket joint break apart. Cut around the oyster meat (a.k.a. the chicken love handle) and remove the leg. Repeat on the other leg. Then return the now legless bird to breast-side up. Cut down the center of the breastbone (between the chicken cleavage) and, cutting as close to the bone as possible, lift the breast away from the rib cage. Cut around the base of the wing so that the wing and breast stay connected as you separate them from the center cavity. Repeat on the other side. Save the center carcass for making stock, etc.

Place the chicken quarters into a dish or sealable bag. Add the oil, garlic, 1 tsp of salt, chili flakes, and citrus zest to the bag and smoosh around to coat the chicken. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium. Remove the chicken from the marinade (squeezing off any excess oil). Grill skin-side down until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken to a cooler part of the grill and continue cooking until it is cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the onion into 1 inch-wide petals and toss with a glug of olive oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until soft and slightly singed. Remove the onions to a medium bowl.

Toss the apricot halves with a glug of olive oil and a big pinch of salt and black pepper. Grill, cut-side down, until the fruit is slightly soft and has good grill lines. Remove from the grill and add to the bowl of onions. Add the citrus juice along with another glug of olive oil. Let cool slightly.

Just before serving, tear the basil into large pieces and add to the onion-apricot mixture.

To serve, pile the salad on top of each piece of chicken. Looking for sides? Serve with a bowl of cooked lentils, boiled potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, or steamed bulgur and green salad for a robust meal.

 

Try More Grilling Recipes

Black Bean Quinoa Burger with Baby Artichoke and Fingerling Potato Fries from Southern Cooking, Global Flavors by Kenny Gilbert and Nan Kavanaugh

Summer BBQ Grilled Scallops and Corn from Chiles and Smoke: BBQ, Grilling, and Other Fire-Friendly Recipes with Spice and Flavor by Brad Prose

Barbecue Ribs and Baked Beans from Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking Through the Seasons by Jarred I. Zeringue 

Citrus and Spice Costillitas from Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling by Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral 

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