Living in the northern tier of States can mean that “grilling season” can be confined to the warm weather months. That said, I have been known to put a thick bone-in rib-eye on my Weber grill with several inches of snow on my back deck. Nothing stops me from grilling! So, as you might suspect, the idea of firing up the grill in warm weather holds little novelty for me… I just exchange my down vest for a Grumpy T-shirt and proceed as always. Hence, once I’ve grilled corn a few times (something I do only in the summer), my enthusiasm for warm weather outdoor grilling begins to fade. What’s another juicy cut of steak? Or burgers & dogs? Or chicken kebobs? Or grilled salmon? And another thing… I’m not a big salad guy. (It’s only June and I’m already dreaming of October and the return to casseroles, stews and the comfort of slow cooking!) When I came across this recipe for a foil packet dinner I took notice! Putting stuff in foil is nothing new. Any source of heat can be put into play: an open campfire, a grill (charcoal or gas) & even the oven in the kitchen! Assemble the ingredients… typically a protein, veggie & starch, and place all inside of the foil packet and put the packet on the heat. Simple. Less time than a slow cooker, more convenient and less clean-up!
This recipe is shockingly easy. And the only “pre-prep” is cooking up a couple of slices of bacon. Most important, it’s a change of pace recipe from what I usually put on the grill!
For wine I am opening a bottle of one of the few Sauvignon Blancs that I love, not named Sancerre. I have enjoyed Malk Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc in several vintages. The 2018 is the best I’ve tasted! I love the wine on its own merit, but it also a great choice with chicken and fish dishes. And the Malk worked perfectly with this chicken dish! Another choice would be a Cru Beaujolais, slightly chilled. Or a Bandol Rosé.
Malk Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ’18 (Napa, CA)
The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is decidedly mineral driven. Wonderful limestone minerality presents upfront, highlighted with beautiful citrus notes of lime blossom and orange zest. As we employ fermenting in neutral oak barrels, there is a warmth and texture to the pallet due to the lees contact that provides a perfect balance to the wine.
FOIL PACKET BACON RANCH CHICKEN
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
1 cup frozen green beans (or canned, drained)
2 half, skinless & boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp ranch mix
2 tbsp butter
½ Cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 slices of bacon, cooked & chopped
1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size. Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming. Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!
2. Take two good sized pieces of heavy duty foil & spray with non-stick spray
3. Place a half of potato (peeled and sliced thin) in the middle of each piece of foil. Top with a half cup of green beans. Place chicken breast on top & season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ranch mix and place a tbsp of butter on top. Add ¼ cup of shredded cheese and bacon.
4. Fold up the sides of the foil, and pinch up the ends to make a foil pack.
5. Place packets on a grill for 30 minutes.
6. Open the foil packets carefully, dig in!
n.b. The above recipe is for two. But this recipe is perfectly “scalable” either down or up. Also, I put the foil packets on a closed grill on a high temp. This gave the potato slices a deep char crispness, which I think is great! However, if well done potato slices is not your thing, and if you’re using a gas grill, turn off one of the sides of the cooking surface, and place the packets there.
OK, there is little difference between “deep char” and “burnt”. I just think deep char sounds more “premeditated”, and less “accidental”. In this instance, I just lucked into the potatoes turning out the way that they did. Next time, I’m planning on it!