Picnic Chicken

June 23rd, 2014 · 27 Comments · Uncategorized

I know we are only a day or two into summer, but I can safely say that this chicken Abby is eating is going to be my go-to recipe of the season. In this particular photo, my midfielder is loving it a few hours after a 2-1 loss, but I am pretty sure she would be just as happy to maul it after a victory, or a tie, or for a quick bite before her graduation dance, or in her camp lunchbox, or for a grab-and-go snack out of the fridge after a swim, or with a group of friends for an end-of-the-year party, or in a box or with a fox, or in the dark, or in a tree…

They are so good, so good you see!

As anyone who’s read this blog knows already, we are big fans of Blue Hill Cafe at Stone Barns in Tarrytown. Any time there’s nothing to do on a weekend afternoon (or even when there are a million things to do), you will find us sitting in the courtyard there eating their homemade bologna sandwiches (topped with teeny-tiny pickled vegetables), or chopped egg salad on toast, or farro salad with vegetables, or still-warm scones and lattes and chocolate chip cookies. Everything they serve comes right from the surrounding fields, and is a study in simple, farm-fresh deliciousness. I could eat everything on the menu. And often do.

So I do not say it lightly when I say that this chicken is the main draw for us these days. It’s slightly sweet, slightly smoky, and it is perfect when served cold or room temp, which means it’s perfect for advance summer entertaining or barbecues when you’re not sure the kids are going to go for the grilled whole mackerel or duck with cherry compote that you really really want to serve the grown-ups.

The good news is that the nice folks at Blue Hill have shared the recipe with us and it looks like all that flavor comes from (surprise) a 24-hour marinade. The marinade originated and evolved with two guys from Blue Hill: Adam, the kitchen director, and Pedro, a longtime prep cook. Thanks guys!

Café Chicken
This marinade makes enough for 4 pounds of chicken, which sounds like a lot, but works out to about three or pieces each for four people, with some leftovers for lunch, snack, picnics, whatever. The cafe only sells legs, but we think it’s also delicious with thighs.

½ cup good quality soy sauce
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mild smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 pounds chicken legs and thighs

Place all ingredients except the olive oil, s & p, and chicken into the bowl of a blender.  Puree for 30 seconds on high.

With the motor running, slowly add the oil.  Season well with salt and pepper. Pour marinade over chicken and marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator. In a 400°F oven, roast legs in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet for 40-45 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through.  Serve hot, room temp, or cold. (We like cold best.)

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27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 susanj // Jun 23, 2014 at 9:11 am

    THis looks delicious! Did you leave the skin on the chicken?

  • 2 Lindsey // Jun 23, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Do you think you could grill the chicken? I am loath to turn the oven on at all, much less for 45 minutes in the summer…

  • 3 Kati // Jun 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

    How terrible would it be to use a (decent quality) store-bought orange juice?

    Otherwise, this seems life-changing, since plan on doing many after-work/after-daycare picnics at the pool this year.

  • 4 Laurie // Jun 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Is there a decent substitute for soy sauce? Our 4 year old and best chicken eater is allergic to soy. I miss it most in marinades…We love the DALS grilled chicken with yogurt/lemon – life changing!

  • 5 PassTheKnife // Jun 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing! This will be a great for the many BBQ’s I have planned this summer.

  • 6 Cindy // Jun 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    This sounds delicious! Perfect to make for the beach crowd this weekend. –Laurie – we sub Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for soy sauce.

  • 7 Laurie // Jun 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you, Cindy! We”ll try it – really appreciate the tip

  • 8 Stephanie // Jun 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    My kids LOVE drumsticks and I’m always looking for new ways to roast them! Perfect!!

  • 9 Jen // Jun 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    @Laurie another vote here for the Braggs liquid aminos!

  • 10 Helena // Jun 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Is there any reason you couldn’t marinate this for a little longer? Say 32 hours? Would love to get this started Sat morning for a Sunday dinner…

  • 11 A Life From Scratch // Jun 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    This sounds absolutely divine for summer. Can’t wait to test it out!

  • 12 Karen // Jun 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Just seconding that Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the best! There is nothing else as beautiful, natural, or well-executed within an hour of NYC. It is kid friendly, dog friendly, and a wonderful place for lunch and a walk when driving anywhere upstate in New York. A total gem!

  • 13 Alyson // Jun 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    My “drummie” loving two year old would actually gobble this up (especially after multiple consecutive readings of green eggs and ham)!!!

  • 14 Nancy Oren // Jun 29, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Do you cook the chicken in the marinade or toss it?

  • 15 CJ // Jul 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Made these for a picnic last night…HUGE hit! And really easy. Big points for being able to serve them cold…and for the make ahead factor.

  • 16 Amy // Jul 3, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I made this with legs the other day and it was very very good. I did use TJ’s OJ not fresh-squeezed and I think that was fine. I am marinating a whole cut up chicken and 2 whole breasts with bone and skin for fourth of july tomorrow, I don’t know why the breasts would not be good? Will let you know.

  • 17 Erin // Jul 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Holy moley these are delish! Just made them to bring to fireworks tonight. I used GF soy sauce because I have Celiac. Super easy — will definitely make them again! Thanks.

  • 18 Amy // Jul 5, 2014 at 5:43 am

    The breasts and wings came out great as well, I just adjusted the cooking time, larger pieces needed a few more minutes in the oven, next time I will try it on the grill.

  • 19 Brooke // Jul 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Looks great! Did you leave the skin on or off? And do you turn chicken during oven time?

  • 20 Barbara // Jul 7, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Ditto the question about marinade — do you cook chix in marinade or drain first? Thanks, my 24 hour marinated legs are about to go in the oven!

  • 21 Amy // Jul 7, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I left the skin on and I turned the larger pieces once, the smaller pieces, the wings and legs, I did not turn over. The skin was crispy and good.

  • 22 Robyn Vulcano // Jul 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Seriously! This is so perfect for summer. I marinated wednesday baked thursday afternoon. Walked in the door at 7 from the pool and served this with Coleslaw. Everyone was happy. Even the baby (7 months) liked it.

  • 23 Suzanne Martin // Jul 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    This is the best chicken I’ve tasted in a very long time and the advanced prep is the bomb!

  • 24 Grace // Jul 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I have the DALS book and have been following your blog for a while, but this is the first recipe that I attempted off of your blog/book! You made it sound so delicious and the photo of your daughter enjoying it sealed the deal for me.

    Anyway, I am a newbie cook (and I actually do not like cooking, so meals are sometimes challenging at my house) but, I’m happy to say that the cafe chicken was a hit. My kids (8, 3 and 2) enjoyed it very much and I was surprised at how easy it was and that the chicken was moist. I might add a bit more of the seasonings next time to give it more flavor, but I was very pleased with how it turned out. My toddlers even asked for seconds! That doesn’t happen often when I cook. ;)

    I love your blog, and I hope to gain more courage and try more recipes soon.

  • 25 Amy // Jul 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

    LOVED this chicken! I baked it for an hour at 300 and then my husband finished it on the grill with applewood smoked chips and it was so good. My 7 year old called it “the best chicken EVER!”. Served it with coleslaw and Callie’s cheddar and chive biscuits and it was the perfect summer dinner! Thank you DALS for another great summer staple recipe.

  • 26 Allie // Aug 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I used chicken breasts and grilled them and everyone loved them! What a great recipe!!

  • 27 Katy // Sep 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Just made this with a summery caprese, sweet potato fries, and some dressed greens. Once I popped the chicken in the oven I had time to make a delicious G&T with thin-sliced cucumbers which then inspired an impromptu quick-pickling session. (I used DALS’ quick-pickled onions recipe with a few sliced TJ’s persian cucumbers) The tart cucumbers were SO good next to the chicken…an accidental favorite part of the meal. My daughters (2&5) chowed. It’s officially on the family favorites list! Thank you!!

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