Okay this isn’t the fanciest of dinners, but it’s a family favorite and very easy (you could almost say we’re cheating), and we love the smell of something grillin’ on the barbecue—especially when it’s out of season and on a rainy day.
Boneless chicken breasts, enough to feed your crew, medium-sized
Freshly ground pepper
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, TJ’s Everyday Seasoning, & Pavilion’s All-in-One Seasoning (this is the cheating part)
Dried porcini mushrooms
Cut away any fat or unwanted grossness on the chicken breasts. Place in porcelain baking dish (for some reason, we like using this kind of dish for this kind of thing). Sprinkle and grind generous amounts of fresh pepper, Lawry’s, TJ’s Everyday, and Pavilion’s All-in-One onto one side of chicken breasts. Slightly rub into meat with your hand. Squeeze lemon on top of chicken. Turn breasts over and repeat. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over top and let sit to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes, turning once. Make sure there is enough lemon/olive oil juice for basting while grilling.
Before firing up the grill, remember to scrape it down with your fancy grill brush or, as we have done on occasion, with the green scrubber side of a sponge. We use a pastry brush to brush olive oil on the grill before we light it up, to help keep the meat from sticking.
Cover the grill and while it heats up to half a gazillion degrees (ours looks like it’s on medium, but our propane grill is very 20th century), go back inside to prep Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Herb Risotto, sautèeing the risotto as suggested, adding the water, two-thirds of the seasoning pack (or else it tastes too salty), and a couple of tablespoons of dried porcini mushrooms, just for fun. Once it boils, turn it down until it’s just simmering and cover. Carry out the marinated pollo and put on the grill. If the temperature is high, turn it down; it’s better to BBQ at a lower temp and have it take longer than to blacken the poor breasts, and we’ve found that grilling at a lower heat helps keep in the juices.
Cover grill and set timer for 6 minutes. Take this breather to pour yourself a nice glass of wine, then stand at the stove and give the risotto a stir until the timer goes off. Before attending to the chicken, make sure to cover the risotto.
Baste tops of chicken breasts then turn them over and baste the grilled side. Cover grill and put on timer for 6 more minutes. Go find your wine and stir the risotto. Once stirred, cover again, and pull out baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, red onion, and avocado. Slice, chop, and break apart ingredients as desired into the prettiest salad bowl you’ve got. If splurging, simply use that 25 year balsamic that pours like molasses—no olive oil needed in our house for our salads; we just need to not take the bottle and savor it by the spoonful. This does remind us though to take out the Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream, the future recipient of aforementioned balsamic, allowing it to come up to room temp just a smidgeon, which makes it more manageable as there’s absolutely no need to have to fight with your ice cream, especially when dessert calls.
Now put down your wine glass and dash for the grill; keep your focus. Chicken should be firm to the touch, but also give a little. Slice into it if you’re unsure. If juice runs clear, remove to baking dish and cover with foil. Let meat rest for 5 minutes, the perfect amount of time for giving a few more stirs to the risotto and tossing the salad. Slice chicken breast on a board with a perimeter well so you can catch the juices, which can then be poured into a gravy boat/sauce server. Meanwhile, summon your crew to set the table and light the candles. Top off your wine glass, et bon appetit.