Sunday, May 20, 2012

Time to Grill! Delta Chicken

This is a Stoffer family favorite! When our sons were young, we went to the Sacramento delta almost every summer. One thing they seem to have in abundance in the delta, besides cornfields is wild fennel. During the summer you can find the plants flowering by the roadside. Fennel flowers (aka pollan) for this recipe are common, and once you notice them you'll see them everywhere. They add a wonderful flavor to this red wine marinade. This chicken is absolutely superb when cooked over a charcoal fire. The warm weather is getting me in the mood to grill!

One 4-5 pound chicken cut into pieces
½ bottle red wine
2-3 Tbs. wild fennel flowers, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ yellow onion thinly sliced
¼ C. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt 
about 20 turns of the pepper grinder

Prepare the Marinade
Pick the flowers and newly formed fennel seeds from their stems. It takes about a quarter cup to yield the amount needed for this recipe. Chop well. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add the salt and pepper.

Add the chicken pieces and marinate at least over night. It can go for two days, but twelve to twenty-four hours is ideal.

About an hour before cooking remove chicken from marinade and place on a large tray. After ten minutes, pour off excess marinade and pat up excess juice with a paper towel. Then salt and pepper the chicken lightly before grilling. Salt sensitive people may omit this step. We like to accompany the chicken with bread salad and corn on the cob, or a bowl of green beans with lots of garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Happy grilling!!

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