aYour most popular meat to date, poultry is an excellent choice for barbecue (an appeal, though, to look for the best you can afford, because no other meat has been commodified by factory farming than the birds on our tables). As a general rule, it is always best to cook birds indirectly, away from the intense heat of a fire, and take things gently and for a longer time. Rushing to cook and burn the outside risks the inside is still raw and won’t bring you the best food. To this end, the temperature probe is a very useful tool – we have an innate fear of undercooked poultry that we often turn in the opposite direction and end up with dry results; The probe will give you confidence that it was done exactly right.
Chicken legs stuffed with pistachio, apricot and fennel salad (pictured above)
Here, the chicken legs are boneless (thigh part only), so you can stuff them with a delicious filling. This makes running them on the grill a bit delicate, so if you have a fish cage, lining them will keep them safer. If not, be more generous with cocktail sticks to close – you’ll need 12-16 in total.
to equip 15 minutes
cook 1 hour 30 minutes
50 gm shelled pistachios
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
Pinch of chili flakes (my choice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onionpeeled and chopped
1 clove garlicpeeled and powdered
50 g Dried Apricotsfinely chopped
Few sprigs of flat-leaf parsleychopped
A few sprigs of dillchopped
4 chicken thighs
peeled sea salt and black pepper
1 small fennel onion (about 200g), peeled and thinly sliced
2 heads of red dandelion (dandelion), thinly sliced
100 grams radishthin slices
Generous handful of fresh, tender herbs (I used dill, parsley and coriander) chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
little sugarto taste
Roast the pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, then place the pistachios on a plate, chop them finely and put them in a medium-sized bowl. Toast the cumin, coriander and chili flakes, if using, in the same skillet for a minute, put them in the mortar, crush well and add to the nut bowl.
We pour olive oil into the pan, put it again on low heat, gently sweat the onions, stirring constantly, for 15-20 minutes, until they are well softened. Add garlic and stir briefly, then stir in the nut and spice mixture. Add chopped apricots and herbs, season well and leave to cool while preparing chicken legs.
Lay the leg leather side down on the board. Using a small, sharp knife, make an incision down the thigh bone to the joint where it meets the cane. Use the tip of a knife to scrape the meat away from the bone, working from the top of the thigh down, then cutting through the joint. Pull out the thigh bone and discard it (or keep it as stock), leaving the thigh bone in place, then cut a pocket in the deepest part of the thigh meat to open it up a bit – this will allow you to put more filling inside. Repeat with the other three legs.
Spoon a little apricot mixture into each pocket, wrap the meat around the filling, and secure each leg tightly with three or four cocktail sticks.
Light the grill ready for indirect grilling. Place chicken skin side down on grill plates, away from heat and cook indirectly for about 40 minutes, rotating them once or twice until they are evenly cooked. Use a meat probe to check for doneness – chicken is technically safe at 74°C, but I think the legs benefit from taking it after that, to 85°C or so.
Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and serve alongside the cooked chicken.
Skewers of turkey meatballs with bean and fennel broth
The meatballs benefit from a little cold in the refrigerator to attach them firmly to the skewers. You will also need four to six metal skewers.
to equip 15 minutes
goosebumps 1 hour +
cook 1 hour
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
500 grams Ground turkey meat
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprikato taste
1 garlic clovepeeled and powdered
Salt and black pepper
1 zucchiniCut into 1 cm thick discs
olive oilto spray
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium fennel onions (about 500g), cut through the root into thin wedges
1 red onionpeeled and chopped
2 garlic clovespeeled and powdered
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (my choice)
2 x 400 grams Borlotti cereal boxesfiltered and rinsed
juice of 2 lemons
100 grams buttercubes
A good bunch of dillchopped
Roast the fennel seeds for a few minutes in a small skillet over medium heat. Transfer it to a mortar and grind it, then turn it into a bowl. Add the turkey, paprika, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt and a fine grind of pepper, then mix well with your hands – this will make the mixture sticky and help it stick to the skewers. Break them into golf ball-sized pieces and roll them up tightly, placing the meatballs on a baking sheet as you go.
When you are done forming all the meatballs, line them and the zucchini discs alternately onto skewers, then shape the meatballs a little more, so that they are about the same diameter as the zucchini. Put the skewers on a baking sheet and let cool for an hour or two; Longer (up to 24 hours) wouldn’t hurt, if you want to go further.
When you’re ready to cook, turn the grill on, ready for direct and indirect grilling. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the fennel wedges, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then grill over direct heat for a few minutes on each side, until slightly charred. Transfer to a plate.
Place a large, deep, fireproof skillet or roasting pan on the grill grates just over the heat, and pour in another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and stir briefly, then close the grill lid and leave to saute for about 15 minutes, depending on the temperature of the coals, until soft and slightly golden (if they hit too quickly, simply move the pan away from the hot coals). Add the charred fennel wedges, garlic, and chili flakes, if using, to the onions, saute for a minute or two, then stir in 250ml of water, cover with foil and close the grill lid again. Simmer 10 minutes, until fennel has softened but still a little, then remove the tin foil and stir in the beans, lemon juice, butter, and most of the dill (save a little for garnish). Slide the skillet over the indirect heat to a slow boil while grilling the meatball skewers.
Drizzle a little oil on each skewer and place it on the grill bars directly over the fire. Cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes, until a probe inserted deep into one of the meatballs reads 74°C (cooking with the lid on when the skewers are not on will increase the efficiency of the fire). Lay the cooked skewers over the pot of fennel and beans, and spread over the remaining dill just before serving.
Recipes extracted from Seared: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Meat, by Genevieve Taylor, and published by Quadrille at £20. To order a copy for £17.40 go to guardianbookshop.com