My first husband loved to entertain in the cave-man manner of “Me mucho he-man. Me cook for you over open fire.” With a stiff drink in one hand and a long-handled brush dripping in a glaze or sauce in the other, he charmed many clients and close friends with his grilling expertise.
In the backyard or poolside, voices heralded to his delight, “Wow, how did you get this meat so tender ... what’s the secret? This glaze is delicious; can I borrow the recipe?” To his credit, for many years he never gave away his grilling secret ... ME!
A couple of days before an outdoor gathering, his “secret” would hear, “Honey, did you buy the meat yet? If it’s chicken, I don’t want a marinade or rub this time, how about a sweet glaze instead?
As party-time rounded the corner, diplomatic instructions began, “I really love your hot German Potato salad ... think you can find the time? Also, I liked the way you skewered the meat and vegetable combinations last time, can you do it again ... only this time can you marinade the mushrooms first?
As the years passed and my he-man became more interested in the comfort of a recliner and remote control, grilling before an audience seldom held a monthly slot in his summer appointment book.
To this day, I’ve never regretted being my husband’s grilling “secret” because a true “secret” adores her he-man and dearly loves helping him serve outstanding culinary treasures.
The following recipe is one such treasure. Whether you choose to bake or grill the finished dish, it’ll always be a crowd pleaser dished up hot or cold.
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 whole chickens (about 3 lbs. ea.) cut into quarters, skin removed.
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Mix salt, rosemary, pepper and garlic in small cup. Rub mixture over chicken quarters; cover and refrigerate in large bowl about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place chicken quarters, skinned-side up, in two large roasting pans (17 by 11 1/2-inches). Bake chicken 25 minutes on two oven racks, rotating pans between upper and lower rack halfway through baking.
Glaze: Mix apricot jam, lemon juice and mustard in small bowl with fork.
To bake: Brush glaze over chicken; bake 20 minutes longer, rotating pans after 10 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife.
To grill: If refrigerated, quickly reheat chicken on the grill, brushing with the glaze just before removing from the heat. Avoid overcooking.
Leba also writes the “Upon Reflection” column that runs bi-monthly in the Banner’s Sunday edition.