I'm still trying to buy as much local meat as we can afford but our budget won't allow for as much as we'd like. We're eating a lot more vegetarian dishes but those can be expensive in the winter. One way we're trying to save money is by only buying chicken or pork(we never buy CAFO beef) when it's on manager's special. This usually means you have to use it that day or freeze it which is never an issue for us because we have two chest freezers. Last Friday, I went to Ingles and we were able to pick up seven 5 lb packs of boneless chicken breasts for $2.99 each. $23 for 35 pounds of chicken which works out to around 67 cents a pound. I rationalize this CAFO purchase by hoping that both the store and producers lose money on me – you don't need to tell me how dumb that logic is. Chicken breasts aren't my favorite but they're really quick and easy for salads and such. We also have several packages of chicken thighs we got for 45 cents a pound. I LOVE chicken thighs. It's a much juicer cut of meat and I think it grills amazingly well. Kim from A Mighty Appetite posted this recipe a while ago and it intrigued me but for some weird reason, I never got around to making it. The recipe includes fish sauce which is one of those ingredients that I never feel entirely confident using because it…well, smells kind of gross. You'd think by now I'd learn how awesome stuff using this always turns out. This recipe is a keeper. I think some tinkering is in order (a little more lime juice and maybe add some garlic) but this makes a really lovely, easy dish. I served it with a green salad with a Asian-style vinaigrette(rice wine vinegar, canola oil, garlic, fresh ginger and enough sugar to make it slightly sweet).
Grilled Chicken(Ga Nuong)
From "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" by Andrea Nguyen
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Canola or other neutral oil
2 3/4 pounds chicken thighs, skin and extra fat removed
In a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken, combine all ingredients except the chicken and mix well. Add chicken and use your fingers to massage marinade into the meat, distributing the seasonings as evenly as possible. Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (Note from Kristina – I also am going to try a longer marination time).
Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium.
Place chicken on grill rack and cook, turning every five minutes, until browned on both sides, with clear juices. If necessary, transfer meat to a 400-degree oven to finish cooking. You are looking for an internal temperature of approximately 165 degrees.