Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A CHEF JOHN'S ON THE ROAD RERUN: Grilled Lemon Yogurt Chicken - Featuring the Marinade that's Been Making Chicken Delicious for Over 4,000 Years

I'm still in New York and unable to post any new material, so here's a rerun of one of my favorite summer chicken recipes. It's perfect for the grill, or can be baked in the oven. What follows is the original post which aired on August 4, 2008...

Yogurt has been used as a marinade since it was first invented, over 4,000 years ago, in Turkey, Central Europe, or the Balkans, d
epending on who you ask. The important thing is that any cooking technique or recipe that survives that long is probably pretty damn good. This video recipe for a simple, but super succulent, grilled lemon and yogurt chicken is just that.

There is something special about what yogurt does to chicken waiting for its smoky,
sizzling time over the charcoal. It imparts a tangy flavor that lifts all the other flavorings. It tenderizes slightly, without turning the meat into mush. It grills to a caramelized dark brown without tasting burnt. And, there are not many fat-free ingredients that will have people begging for your "secret" recipe.

In the video I use a large cut-up chicken, which I encourage you to do yourself. In case you missed it, here is the link to the "how to cut up a chicken with scissors" video clip. The only thing I did different for this recipe was use a large sharp knife to cut the breasts in half - and also separated the thigh and the drumstick.

This is one of those grilled chicken recipes that is just as delicious served cold, in a salad, or gnawed right off the bone at a picnic. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 big chicken
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp Herbs from Provence (or any dried Italian, or Greek herb blend - rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp harissa or other hot sauce
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (optional)

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice! We knew whatever you Q'd on it would look great, and the ulterior motive: so we could learn how to use ours. We're going to give this recipe a try, right away.

Peg & Al

Anonymous said...

whoa, those are some sexy grill marks!

Anonymous said...

I just love the combination of words used "probably", "kinda healthy"...made my day!

sweet said...

OMG...you are like Food-God to me....every single time you manage to come up with new wonderful delicious and sooooooooo simple recipes!! Hats of to you!!
I really love your blog and also the way you present the recipes....its a LOT better than those other dull recipe videos!!
Keep up the good work and god bless you...And as always ENJOY!!

-Your great fan Sheetal

Chef John said...

thanks!! but..."And as always ENJOY!!"...Stop stealing my material!! ;)

noble pig said...

I love yogurt in a marinade, it's magical. This looks very satisfying.

Optimus Skiver said...

I'm always skeptical to splash oil in a marinade, but that's mostly because my instructors said it was counter productive to the purpose of marinades (which I kinda get). What are your thoughts on it? Whatever the case, I'm going to try this dish on my parents at some point. ^_^

Scott from SF said...

WOWZA. cooked this tonight for my wife and it was a HIT!. So good, so easy. that sauce is just awesome

My wife had such a great idea. Next time we cook this we are fully going greek.

BBQ the chicken then cut the chicken up into pieces, place in Pita with Tomato, cucumber, this great sauce and some feta.

Would be SOOO good.

Chef John said...

they are crazy. some marinades ARE olive oil, garlic, etc. Never say never when cooking. I would sue them and demand my money back.

Chef John said...

Thanks Scott - RE: wife's idea - sounds great, you are a lucky man.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

The chicken looks great. Just put the words grilled, lemon, yogurt together and I'm there.

Haley Pullin said...

WOW. Sounds delicious! :)
Can't wait to make this!

texichan said...

Just wondering - would this still be pretty decent on a George Foreman? I wish I had a nice grill for charcoal and wood chips, but no such luck (I don't even have the room for such a thing). I'm assuming it would be ok... unless there's some magical chemical process that happens between the yogurt and the charcoal? Anyway, dying to get my hands on some of this!

Chef John said...

yes, this will work on the gf grill, just not smoky.

D said...

grill them lemons! Not sure if I learned it from you, but grilled lemon halves are incredible.

Chef John said...

You are right I should have grilled them! ...students are correcting the master. ;(

Nate-n-Annie said...

Great video, CJ. You're makin' my mouth water.

If we weren't going to let the kids have some, could we put in some ancho chile or even cayenne pepper powder into that marinade?

Chef John said...

Thanks! Oh yes, it's great spicy. I often put sambal, or sriracha also.
BTW, I'm going to the tomato tasting in Solano.

julius said...

one question, why use nonfat yohhurt? the 12% is much tastier

Awsome recipe tho!


//Caesar

Chef John said...

suit yourself

reika said...

Chef, is marinating in buttermilk going to give similar result to yoghurt?

Natalia said...

It looks so tasty. Thank you for this video! I would like to try it, but I do not have a charcoal grill and I do not know anything about grills. Chef John, I trust your opinion, could you recommend a grill? I also have an electric stove and do not like most of the pans I use. Could you also add some pans that you think would be good for an electric stove to the "Recommended products"?

Thanks a lot,
Once again

Reading your web-site is such an escape from every day life problems ;)

Chef John said...

yes, buttermilk does work in a similar way

Chef John said...

The pans I recommend will also work on electric. The key for electric is a flat HEAVY bottom that transfers the heat evenly. I will also post a link to the grill I use.

Anonymous said...

how important is the use of "greek yogurt"?? can't i just use regular plain yogurt?

Chef John said...

yes, regular works fine.

granny said...

So tired of the same old chicken on the grill. This sounds like a great change. Going to try it.
Love your new "white" grill. Wow! In these parts we only have a choice of black and stainless steel.

dan said...

If you choose to use boneless chicken breast for this recipe, how long should you keep it in the marinade?

Chef John said...

i would think you could get away with a 2 hour marinade.

Cindy. Lo. said...

Drooling!!

feedergoldfish said...

Okay, I had most of the ingredients and picked up some plain yogurt yesterday, so I'm giving it a try for din-din tonight!

Anonymous said...

what's the best temperature/setting if you are cooking at home on the stove top?

thanks!

Chef John said...

hard to say, depends on stove, pan thickness etc. Very hard to saute chicken with bones. You should probably bake at 400 or broil.

Anonymous said...

Great site !!! Loved your receipes.
Want to know how many pounds does the chicken weigh ? approxs
thanks very much

Chef John said...

thanks, it was about 4 pounds, but this works with any size.

Dan said...

I know this comment is late, but there is a difference between Greek yogurt and plain yogurt. It may not matter so much in the marinade, but Greek yogurt is especially luxurious and creamy compared to regular yogurt, which makes it great for the sauce Chef John made at the end. I highly recommend Greek yogurt, it makes American yogurt seem like swill :P

Chef John said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

CJ - I have done this before and it was great. This time, I want to try with boneless chicken breasts but I like brining them first. Can I marinate after brining? Any changes to the recipe at all?
Thanks!
-GGD

Chef John said...

I've nvr tried, but I don't think I'd use this recipe and a brine

Teresa said...

Definitely making this today.

spring said...

DEAR Chef:I have no cooking tool to grill the chicken, can I just put it in the oven??

Chef John said...

yes, bake at 400 for about 35 minutes or until done

Flour said...

Sadly, I usually feel completely uneasy about trying unfamiliar combinations in dishes. I've never heard of yogart and chicken before, but this looks sooooo good, I must try it!
BTW, your in-laws are amazing for that grill:)

Orval Overall said...

Hey, look at that, I just made this gem of a recipe over the weekend. Thanks again, chef!

James said...

Hey Chef John,
Just in case you're running out of suggestions for yet more work, is there any chance of making up a piri-piri sauce?

I've searched everywhere and Nandos are still ripping me off! :(

Thanks

Edward said...

For those who can't find Greek yogurt:

Alton Brown demonstrates a great way of converting American Yogurt to Greek by straining it in a tea towel. You can find instructions by Googling 'alton brown gyro youtube'.

Anonymous said...

I finally got around to making this chicken. I always know when a recipe is a keeper. My husband, who is always polite and almost always says how good dinner is, took one bite of this chicken and said, "This is f------ delicious"! He ate more that I've ever seen him eat.
Thanks for a great recipe!
Jackie

Anonymous said...

Made this tonight and let me tell you people that are on the fence about making this..DO IT!!! Used the Greek yogurt, I'm in love with this stuff now! I will never use runny plain yogurt again! Chef.. another recipe that is pulling my teen away from fast food!! Bravo!

Steve said...

We made this tonight and well... HOLY C$4P... it was soooooo GOOOOOOOD!

We used just thighs, skinned and marinated over night in the fridge... then cooked on our Traeger Smoker Grill http://www.traegergrills.com/grills/BBQ07E for about 45 min...

Thanks for great recipe... and great site too!

S in Boise

Steven Dwyer said...

John I made the Marinade and like all your dishes it was amazing. Can I adopt you??

Desired Focus Wedding Photography said...

Just made your creme fraiche (I hope I spelled that right.) and I'm thinking about using that for this recipe!!! I'm also thinking about broiling it since I don't have a grill. Any recommendations on heat and time? I'm thinking lower than normal for broiling and on a low broil for about the same amount of time. I'd use chicken thighs and split cut breasts with the skin on.

Chef John said...

Sorry, I can't say, it depends on a lot of factors. just use a thermometer to get the desired internal temp.

Dkaye1777 said...

I grilled this tonight and it was absolutely the best!!! Thanks for sharing Chef John!!!

LaurieGGG said...

I grilled this tonight putting the grill initially on high, skin side down for five minutes. Holy flare ups! All the pieces caught fire and scorched the skin to charred black. It was ugly, but the meat was tasty. What should I do different next time to avoid the "fire?"

Martin Mental said...

Hmmmmmm... I'm actually marinading this right now! Just a little different; I'm using this on chicken saté (just skewered chicken, no fancy peanut sauce), and I added some Cayenne to bring a little heat into the mix. It smells absolutely delicious! I'll report on the results later!

With kind regards,

Maarten Mantel

Peter C said...

Just marinaded the chicken to your recipe... This is the first recipe of yours that I'm trying but I must say I love your website and the simple tips you give.
Regards
Peter

Stephany Noel said...

Hi J,
Made this tonight and the family WIPED it out! Everyone was part of the "Clean Plate Club". Thanks so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Chef John, thanks for all your delicious recipes. You have changed me from a ho-hum cook to a 1st class one! I used to hate cooking but now I actually enjoy it!

HomeCook Andrew said...

Hey chef, I was wondering if I wanted to do a noodle base for the chicken, what would go good with the chicken. I thought about a creamier sauce and linguini. Although I wasnt sure how to make your sauce creamy.

Jo said...

Yum, just cooked this for the second time and loved it even more! Cooked it in a cast iron grill pan on the stove but can't wait to try it on the BBQ - love your recipes chef John and love reading everyone's comments and your sensible replies!

grdaemon said...

Yogurt has been used as a marinade since it was first invented, over 4,000 years ago, in Turkey..LOL theres no hint of Turks even existed 4K ago. Not even in their history book. There is no written history before Heraclitus at that time either. I trust we don't write any b*shit regarding history. Nice recipes though. Keep it up.

Chef John said...

No one said anything about Turk. It was first used in the area that is now Turkey, or so the researchers say.