So, as promised today I want to share with you the third of my three go to barbecue chicken recipes (you can find my Skinny Sticky Storecupboard Barbecue Chicken here, and my Barbecue Chicken, Bacon & Honey Mustard Skewers here) with you today. I also want to talk a bit about what to think about when you go around doing your supermarket shop, as far as what products you can scrimp and save on, and buy the cheapest of the cheap without much of a quality issue, and what products you need to put a little bit more care into choosing.
When I first became a student, my biggest fear was not being able to feed myself. Not because I did not think I could cook (I always knew I could, even before it even occurred to me that I could make it my full time job through blogging), but the budgeting to be able to afford the food I was used to buying and cooking and still eat worried me. Organic, free range chickens and vine ripened tomatoes are expensive. Let us not talk about my Innocent Smoothie habit! During my second year of university, having to handle the pound to dollar exchange rate I don't know how much really I was spending on groceries, and during my third year the fact I was constantly developing recipes and that as well as living on top of a Sainsbury's where they sold sushi, and having a Waitrose nearby meant that budgeting went out of the window as far as food was concerned. But in my first year? I really got to learn where you could save pennies on the basics ranges from supermarkets (Sainsbury's was my destination of choice) so that you could splurge on some of the things I'd bulk at buying budget, such as chicken and sausages. While the more expensive Italian brands are better, own brand mozzarella is actually not that bad. As long as they are free range, your eggs don't really need to be organic too, and while budget bags of onions might seem like a good idea, you actually get more for your money getting those nets of three.
For some reason, supermarket chicken has always been one of my biggest worries as far as where my food comes from, and even as a student you'd sometimes balk at the amount I've paid for a couple of chicken breasts. So I could be sure they had not been pumped full of chemicals and were not GM in America I exclusively purchased kosher chicken. While the breasts where fat, plump (but not too plump that you knew they were pumped full of water to make up mass) and butchered nicely (read: better than I can do myself when I'm jointing a whole bird), you honestly really, really don't want to know how much they cost. I know hacking a whole bird to pieces to create cheaper pieces is not for everyone so I'm not going to try and convert you (today!), so I'm going to do the maths for you on Sainsbury's 'Freedom Food' (you can read more about Freedom Food labeled products across the UK here) pack of three chicken breasts. They list the exact farm where the chickens were raised on the packet, and for three fantastically fat and plump breasts they come in at £2.33 each. Now compare that to the price and size of something from the basics range. Sainsbury's did provide me with vouchers to get a couple of these in my weekly shop last week to put a recipe together for you all, but I have honestly purchased them before, and when I took a look at the selection in the Canterbury branch the other day, they are honestly what I'd choose for myself, anyway.
I came up with this marinade a few years ago, in that first student kitchen as a way of jazzing up some chicken breasts to grill, but it was not until the following Summer did I discover that the marinade lent itself so much better to barbecue skewers. It is all storecupboard stuff; a whole lemon, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
One lemon serves two chicken breasts, which will feed two to three people on the barbecue. However, if there is just you (or you want to make extra) the cold leftover chunks are also pretty fantastic. My favourite way to have them is in a wrap with cherry tomatoes, cubed avocado and just a smidgen of light mayonnaise to hold the whole thing together.
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Runny Honey
- Zest + Juice of 1 Large Lemon
- 2 Freedom Food Chicken Breasts
- Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 3 Wooden Barbecue Skewers
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, a good pinch of sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl and add the chicken, cut into large chunks. Cover, and allow to marinate chilled for at least 2 hours, but I try to get it done after breakfast so the flavour has a good time to soak into the chicken.
While you're waiting for the barbecue to heat up soak the skewers in cold water. This will prevent them catching fire while you're trying to barbecue. When the barbecue is ready to cook, divine the chicken pieces between the three skewers, and cook, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. Baste the chicken, using a pastry brush with the leftover marinade every few minutes to make sure the chicken keeps moist and has maximum flavour.
There are so many different sides and salads that I'd love to serve this with, but I think it would go particularly well with either a combination of my Simple Potato Salad and Purple Cabbage Slaw, or Indian Spiced Potatoes and Light Tzatziki. Other recipes you might want to toss the chicken pieces into to make a nice big, meaty salad bowl are my Fattouch with Radishes and Sumac, or my Radish, Caper & Semi-dried Tomato Salad. And of course, a nice tall glass of my Cucumber Mint Lemonade, where a good slug of gin would be a totally acceptable addition to the party as well.
Have you got any barbecue plans ahead of the long Bank Holiday weekend? While we will hopefully have nice enough weather to keep barbecuing well into September, and the last weekend of the month falls so the 30th is on a Sunday, it really is the last big blow out before Summer ends. I know I'm usually the worlds biggest sun seeker, moaning about how much better the weather is in California, but I am starting to flip through knitted dresses in catalogues and eye my beloved Rag & Bone ankle boots (Matches have my burgundy colour at £197 down from £394 at the moment!) at the bottom of my wardrobe with a bit of anticipation to be able to wear them again!