Can you smell that? Stick you nose closer to the screen, now can you?? If you can’t then you just have to make this yourself. Let me just put this out there…this is infinitely better made with trimmed boneless chicken thigh cutlets. However it will work with breast too, your cooking times will be adjusted. Taste will determine what you eventually will cook but the thighs always work better with the direct heat that a grill provides. Why? It’s the make up of the meat itself..more fat in the dark meat which keeps the meat from drying out. Breasts are wonderfully almost fat free but the downside is over cooking since there’s no self basting provided by nature. The pictures are of thigh cutlets but feel free to use the breast cutlets.
One of the best flavor profiles with direct grilled heat is the chile, fruity, sweet, sour, spicy type which is wonderfully achieved with a mix of cumin, pineapples, cilantro or mint, tequila, lime, garlic, and chiles. Your mouth should be watering at this point. Layer the smoke and char of the flames on the grill and you are in grilled meat heaven. This marinade sort of has a southwest US meets the Pacific coast of Mexico sort of vibe. a cilantro or other fresh herbed rice is a very nice base to serve it over. OK, let’s talk about pairings like this for a moment shall we? The chicken is the star, don’t have it become Jan Brady and become a middle child fighting for attention! All too often when a strong flavored protein is served with a side, or on a side, the side is way too highly flavored and instead of the chicken being complimented by the rice they are fighting for your attention and the combo of all strong flavor diminished the whole point of the dish…in this case the chicken. A plain steamed long grain rice (short grain, too creamy, you want the rice to be fluffy and separate) that you finish with a little minced cilantro or mint is all you need. Let’s walk into the kitchen now.
TIME: 2 1/2 hours or more depending on your marinating time SERVES: 4
1 can CRUSHED PINEAPPLE , important IN IT’S OWN JUICE,not in SYRUP (the syrup contains too much sugar and will char quickly
1/8 cup OLIVE OIL or Grapeseed Oil or Vegetable Oil
1 sliced JALAPENO, cored and seeded
2 GARLIC CLOVES turned into a paste or pushed thru a Garlic Press
1 TSP KOSHER SALT
3 BRUISED SPRIGS OF CILANTRO OR MINT
1 TSP GROUND CUMIN
1 TBS. FRESH LIME JUICE
1/8 CUP TEQUILA
12 TRIMMED AND POUNDED to no less than 1/4 inch (ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE) BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS OR BREAST
KOSHER SALT, BLACK PEPPER
Prep your chicken and lightly season it with salt and pepper and cover it, place in a cool spot in your kitchen. If it’s hot out and your kitchen is hot, place the prepped chicken into the fridge. Safety first my cooking sisters and brothers. Whisk all the other ingredients except the Cilantro together and leave alone for 1/2 hour. Now strain the marinade and reserve the pieces of crushed pineapple..place to the side in a bowl. Cover. Add the chicken to the marinade and marinade for AT LEAST 1 hour, certainly the longer…the better the flavor .that’s up to you. Prep your grill blasting it with the cover on for at least 15 minutes. Open the cover and lightly oil those grated..make sure you cleaned them up after your last use. C’mon…use that grill brush!! Grills with bits of meals past not only are gross, but that interferes with your cooking evenly and you miss out on those REALLY COOL grill marks that I KNOW excite you. Especially if you’re a food picture taking geek like me. When your grill is ready, smooth side down place all the chicken on the grill careful not to overlap any of the pieces. (Steaming happens and not what you are looking for in this recipe).
While the chicken is cooking…in a small lightly greased pan, saute’ the the reserved pineapple for about 6 minutes..keep shaking the pan to get some color on the crushed pineapples. Reserve.
Grill for 4 minutes per side for breast meat, grill 8 minutes on one side and 5 on the other for thigh meat. Now to complicate this dish, but it’s a good thing. About 2 minutes before you are done grilling, top each piece of chicken with some of the sauteed pineapple. Cover till done.
All GRILLS COOK DIFFERENTLY..make sure your chicken runs clear juices and it thoughroughly cooked before serving. Better to be safe than sorry so use my cooking times as guides but you ARE THE COOK so make sure you are not serving either undercooked or overcooked chicken.
Transfer all to a platter. Mix about 1/8 cup of Agave Nectar with 1/8 teaspoon (or more , to your taste) ground Chile Powder together and drizzle over the finished chicken. Let rest for 5 minutes…then serve…over the steamed rice (ooooohhh Jasmine or Basmati , those fragrant ones are best for this).
Happy Grilling, Happy Cooking!!!