Being on the New York side of Lake Champlain affords us gorgeous views of the sunrise. There’s something especially magical to me when you see it over water. Every now and then though it’s equally wonderful to see a sunset.
There’s a spot not far from my parents’ house that they like to go to armed with wine, hors d’oeuvres and chairs to watch the sun go down over the majestic Adirondack Mountains. A few years ago my dad put a whole chicken on the grill and let it cook while they were gone. They found that the time it took to cook the chicken was also the perfect amount of time to watch a sunset. As such, “Sunset” Chicken has since become a family favorite. We like to make it at home to remind us of our happy place.
Start with a fresh whole chicken – one from a farmers market or local farm is even better. Go to your garden (or store) and pick lots of fresh herbs – any will do. I used rosemary, thyme, tarragon and lavender. Chop them up (all chopped it should measure a half cup), zest a lemon, crush some garlic and add it to plain yogurt. I like to use Greek yogurt as it’s more firm so it sticks to the chicken better, but traditional yogurt works, too (especially if it’s all you have). Cover the chicken with the yogurt mixture and let it sit for a few hours. The yogurt is key to keeping the chicken moist as it cooks on the grill.
The chicken cooks directly on the grill or if you happen to have a beer can chicken roaster you can use that to stand the chicken up (minus the beer can) which is what we did. Face the breast side of the chicken towards the front of the grill. I suppose there’s no reason you couldn’t also add the beer can…
I captured this sunset waiting for the ferry in Charlotte, Vermont to take us back to the New York side of Lake Champlain. The mountains in the distance are the Adirondacks.
|Sunset Chicken with Yogurt and Herbs|| || |
- 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds) with skin on
- 10 ounces fat-free plain yogurt (Greek or traditional)
- ½ cup chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, dill, lavender, etc.)
- 1 lemon (zest and cut in half)
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- In a medium bowl mix yogurt with herbs, lemon zest and garlic.
- Spread the mixture all over the chicken including some between the breast and the skin as it will help to keep the breast meat moist. Add the lemon pieces to the cavity of the chicken.
- Place the chicken on a platter, lightly cover it with foil (non-stick if you have it) and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Preheat the grill to high. Place the chicken breast side up on the grill. Turn off center burner and turn side burners down to medium. You’ll want to keep the heat 325°F to 350°F. Once you’ve reached the right temperature resist the temptation to open the grill as much as possible. The chicken takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It’s done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F to 170°F or when thigh is pierced with a fork and juices run clear.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and let sit for a few minutes before carving.