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Easy Pesto-Rubbed Grilled Chicken


Sometimes when life gets busy, I find us falling back on tried and true easy meals that come together easily, allowing me to spend time watering my sad garden as they cook. Grilled chicken often stands in during those chaotic moments in life, and while I don’t mind an occasional chicken prepared just so, I tire quickly of the monotonous dry white meat on the plate, nothing to really make it pop or draw me in.

This week I turned to my freezer, where I found a single serving of pesto left, waiting for just such an occasion. A pesto-rubbed chicken sounds much more inviting than the latter, and as the chicken roasted, rubbed with last year’s pesto, I took a moment to tend to the current year’s crops.

Pesto-Rubbed Chicken
1 whole chicken, quartered
1-2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh pesto (I used garlic scape pesto, but basil pesto works as well)
salt and pepper

Soak chicken in buttermilk in a zip-top bag for at least four hours. Light grill to medium-high. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and pat dry. Carefully pull back the skin to create a pocket between the skin and the meat. Using your hand, rub tablespoons of pesto into the pockets at a time until the chicken is completely covered in pesto.

Place chicken on the grill over direct heat for 3-5 minutes a side, bone side down first, searing both sides. Move the chicken to a lower heat on your grill (you can achieve this by turning the back burners off and leaving the front burner on, then moving to the chicken to the side of the grill where the burner is off, leaving the opposite side on. Let the chicken cook for 40 minutes or so, until internal temperatures reaches 165 degrees in a thigh piece near the bone. Remove from the grill, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve over a lettuce salad with additional pesto, if desired.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

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