Farmers’ markets all around the country are currently in full bloom, with lots of great produce, so we’re trying to use fresh ingredients in our cooking.
Also, though summer is waning, the heat persists, so we’d much rather be outside than in our hot kitchen.
Perfect union: this healthy, seasonal meal that you can make outside on the grill for $2.50 per person, using fresh farmers’ market produce.
For $10 total, you can feed four people this perfect late summer feast. These instructions are for grilling, but we’ve also provided alternate instructions in case you don’t have a grill:
Grilled Chicken With Roasted Corn, Onion and Smoky Black Beans
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Cost: about $10
4 chicken legs and thighs, pulled from fridge 30 minutes before grilling
1 red bell pepper
2 onions, peeled
1 head of garlic, with top 1/2-inch of bulb sliced off*
4 ears of corn in their husks
1 can black beans, well rinsed
1/2 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced (optional)**
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat grill to about 350 F.
Pat chicken legs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a seasoned grill, turning occasionally. Cook until leg temperature is 165 F, about 35 minutes. Don’t let thermometer touch the bone, since it’s hotter than the flesh.
While the chicken cooks, place red pepper on the hottest part of the grill and burn on all sides. Although burning food is usually something to avoid, bell peppers are an exception. When you blister the pepper’s skin and gently rub it off, what remains is the recognizable ‘roasted red pepper’ you can buy in a jar for big bucks. (Of course, if you do use jarred peppers, remember that sodium has been added to the mix, so give the peppers a good rinse.)
After putting the pepper on the grill: Slice the onion horizontally into 3/4-inch slabs, keep stacked in original onion form, apply a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Fold foil over from the top and then the sides to make a sealed package. Put on the coolest part of the grill.
Repeat same method with garlic: Place on top of foil, drizzle with oil and salt, wrap the foil around the garlic head and put on coolest part of the grill.
Now turn back to the red pepper. Once the skin is blistered, place in a paper bag or bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 5 to 10 minutes to make it airtight. Then rub skin away from the pepper under cool water. Remove the core and seeds. Chop the pepper into 1/2-inch squares.
While the onions, garlic, pepper and chicken are cooking, grill corn, being mindful not to overcook. Some people soak the ears first, but I just peel back the outer husk, remove the silk and repackage the ear in the outer leaves. Turn the corn a couple of times on the grill while it’s cooking. You’ll know it’s done when it’s hot all the way through, about 10 minutes on low-medium heat. Once slightly cooled, carefully run a serrated knife down the husk to peel the kernels off the cob. If you like the grill marks on the kernels, husk the corn and throw it right on the grill. It will take less time to cook this way.
Keep packages on the grill until the onion and garlic are translucent and soft, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let both cool slightly, then chop the onions to the size of the peppers. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the bulb. When the chicken leg temperature reaches 165 F, remove meat from the grill, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Mix the beans with the chipotle, cilantro and lime. Add in the corn. Add the chopped onion and cloves of garlic. Add the pepper and mix well. Serve the chicken on a bed of the corn and black bean mishmash.
If you don’t have a grill, here’s how to alter the recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the garlic in a foil packet and the onions in a second foil packet, then roast until they’re translucent and soft. Place the chicken on a roasting pan that’s been rubbed with olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes (until a meat thermometer reads 165 F). You can roast the corn in the husk right on the oven shelf or on a cookie sheet. Then proceed as in the main recipe.
Learn How to Grill Like a Pro
Read our girl’s guide to grilling
If you have a gas stove top, place the red pepper right on the grate and let it burn all over. Then proceed as in the main recipe.
*While you’re at it, you can always roast a few heads of garlic at the same time and use the extras on a sandwich instead of mayo. Or you can mash into a baked potato and top with salsa and cubed avocado for lunch.
**Chipotles are smoked jalapeños. They add a smoky and somewhat hot kick. If you’re not a fan of a lot of spice, replace chipotle pepper with half of a jalapeño or a couple of shakes of smoked paprika or chipotle powder.
Food for Thought
A no-pot meal that you can make in the microwave: read on.
Another summer grill classic: snapper puttanesca from grill master Sam Zien. Try it.