Category Archives: CHICKEN

CHICKEN, PROVOLONE, PARSLEY AND BASIL PATTIES, SUMMER LOVE

401674_3107550370100_1304531591_32244544_484452443_nSummer, love it, can’t wait for it to start and hate when it’s over. This is my happy time.  Even the food changes for the most part as I migrate to being outside versus inside and what better way to start of the month of June than with a recipe of mine that is best when cooked on a charcoal or gas grill.  CHICKEN PATTIES…now don’t think a dry hockey puck of plain chicken with some seasoning, i understand that fowl (get it?? please lol) version is a thing.  Mine though reflects my world, that ItalianAmerican world of NYC and NJ that has a particular love for ItalianAmerican cuisine.  Every Summer growing up starting with Labor Day the local Salumerias (Pork Stores) would start selling certain meats just made for the Summer months.  The Cheese and Parsley ring on the crisscrossed skewers and the chicken patty made with Provolone and Parsley, sometimes Basil too, sometime diced peppers and onions in the mix too but my preference was/is the provolone/parsley and basil blend.  Easy to make, easy to cook and wonderful to eat.  These patties of my youth and current life are delicious.  You need a good sharp chef’s knife and a food processor.  What?  What about ground chicken?   It will be too dry.  It will be too processed and the texture will be off.  Your end pattie should have some chicken texture.  Trust me, it makes for a better pattie.

The recipe makes 4 patties.

TIME: 45 minutes                                     YIELD: 4 PATTIES

3 FULLY TRIMMED BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST, ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE

1 FULLY TRIMMED BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN THIGH, ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE

or use all breast, or all thigh, if all thigh it will take longer to cook.

1/4 CUP FINELY DICED SWEET ONION

1 TSP WHITE WINE

1/4 CUP DICED PROVOLONE (AURICCHIO BRAND IMPORTED FROM ITALY PREFERRED)

1/8 CUP GRATED PECORINO ROMANO

2 CHOPPED SPRIGS OF ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY

2 BASIL LEAVES

1 TSP COARSE ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS

1/2 TBS. OLIVE OIL

1 TSP KOSHER SALT

1 TSP CRACKED BLACK PEPPER

 

Chill the blade and bowl of a food processor for 10 minutes.  Then Pulse the meat and cheese no more than 3 times. Add the rest of the ingredients.  Pulse JUST until everything is blended.  Turn out the mixture into a bowl and form into 4 equivalent patties. Place on wax paper and cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

On a well oiled grate, grill the patties on medium heat (whether it’s gas or charcoal) and grill on each side for at least 5 minutes per side, certainly make any time adjustments for your grill.  A too high grill will burn the outside and keep the inside close to undone.  A too low grill will steam the patties.  Yes, all these different temps and methods change how the end product tastes!! When they are done, place on a platter and tent with foil.  Leave them sit for 5 minutes.  Then serve on Rolls or on their own..  A very delicious taste of my “Summer”. Enjoy.

 

 

FENNEL AND TOMATO BAKED CHICKEN, COMBINING DELICIOUS ITALIAN FLAVORS

fennelchicken-003As the weather moves towards the colder side we look to our ovens again.  The aromas that envelope the home as a dish is roasting or baking bring on anticipatory hunger and a generally good feeling all around.  I find Baking/Roasting Chicken can turn a cold rough day into a warm hug everytime.  The combinations and cuisines are endless. Chicken is a blank canvas that pays off with a masterpiece when completed.  CHICKEN SKIN!!!  The flavor center.  It gives up its flavor to the meat and to the cooking juices while keeping some in that skin which makes it a delight.  My cooking is done mostly, almost 99% of the time in absence of a recipe, instead, i use my cooking experience and research to put together dishes that make sense.  Some are actual regional dishes with a set list of ingredients in a particular manner.  Then there are the other times when I use a basic template for a dish and play around.  Like I did one night after work with this BAKED CHICKEN WITH FENNEL, TOMATOES , AND MUSHROOMS.  Fennel (oftentimes LIKE TONIGHT AT THE SUPERMARKET, it’s mislabeled as ANISE, similar tastes but not the same) is in the fall and winter markets.  The type is actually FLORENTINE FENNEL, or FINOCCHIO, and is part of the ItalianAmerican holiday table.  That’s why I bought a big knob with stalks and beautiful fronds tonight.  But I once had some post-Thanksgiving finocchio hanging around in the fridge.  Fennel is often made as a side dish, roasted in the oven. SO….there were some Grape tomatoes and onions in my view, a nice pack of Organic chicken cut into pieces and I thought…let’s make a dish.  The chicken is well seasoned, the tomatoes are thrown in the pan along with some whole mushrooms, chopped fennel, olive oil, some cloves of garlic and White Wine and stock…and then baked. That’s it.  With those ingredients you CAN’T GO WRONG..your home will smell like a country restaurant somewhere in Italy or Sicily where Fennel is king.  Let’s make some chicken with fennel!!

TIME: 1 1/2 HOURS                                     SERVES: 4

1 ORGANIC OR NATURAL CHICKEN, CUT INTO 8 PIECES

2 TSP KOSHER SALT

1 TSP GROUND BLACK PEPPER

1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL

1 FENNEL BULB, TRIMMED AND SLICED

10 CHOPPED FENNEL FRONDS  (THE TOPS OF THE STALKS)

2 PINTS CHERRY TOMATOES

1 LB. WHOLE CREMINI OR BUTTON MUSHROOMS

1 MEDIUM ONION DICED

1 STALK FRESH ROSEMARY, LEAVES REMOVED

2 SMASHED CLOVES OF GARLIC

1/4 CUP WHITE WINE

1 TSP. HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  In a bowl, liberally season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, and olive oil. In another bowl, do the same with the fennel, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic and fresh Rosemary. In a baking pan add the vegetable mixture. Then fit the chicken into the pan. fennelchicken-005

Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top, then the wine.  Place into the oven in the middle rack and let it cook undisturbed for 25 minutes.  Baste the chicken with the pan juices and rotate the pan. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the chicken is reading 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer (so you know, that’s my BFF).  When the chicken is at that temp, remove from the oven. baste with the pan juices and then cover and serve in 5 minutes.Delicious and clean tasting. Meat and a plate of vegetables cooked in the pan juices.  So good.  I like roasted potatoes, or rice, or simply some good bread with this…up to you. fennelchicken-004That pan is DYING for what the Italians call FARE LA SCARPETTA!!  Scooping up those pan juices with a really well crusted piece of Italian bread.  Do it before someone else does…you cooked it, it’s your treat. You deserve it.  Now enjoy your meal!  Happy Cooking!!

CHICKEN SCAMPI STYLE

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CHICKEN SCAMPI STYLE BY A FOOD OBSESSION

One of the most delicious recipe styles is “SCAMPI STYLE”.  Generally it means a saute’ of Shrimp but the style can also be used on other seafood and poultry.  Chicken has that amazing ability to retain it’s distinctive poultry flavor yet take on all the flavors you’re cooking it with.  Versatile is the word! Garlic, Olive Oil, a bit of Butter, Wine, Lemon, and Parsley are the typical ingredients in the “sauce” that is created for Shrimp Scampi. Just replace the Shrimp with Chicken, in this case cut pieces of Boneless Chicken Breast.  OK, let A FOOD OBSESSION voice his very opinionated OPINION on white meat chicken.  It’s delicious when you are using good chicken (I use Organic chicken) and when you season it well and don’t overcook it.  Oh I like thigh meat and bone in thigh pieces for various Chicken Dishes as they will perform better in certain recipes than White meat, especially off the bone.  This is a showcase recipe for the unjustly maligned Boneless breast.  Sorry, you’re not getting FOODIE points from me if you bash white meat chicken..lol. Everything has it’s place.  By the way, I once tried this preparation with boneless thighs.  There’s a reason why THEY aren’t in the picture above.  Key to any dish being its best is the quality of the underlying ingredients.  Use that rule and your dishes will excel!!  Now talking to one of my inner food circle friends, he thought this dish sounded a bit like his idea of Lemon Chicken.  I make Lemon Chicken about 1000 ways as does everyone else, it’s one of those recipes that’s just a name of any recipe of chicken and lemons.  I’m pretty much keeping to the Scampi style here so I gave this that name.  Now there are some Chicken Scampi recipes on the WEB that simply have nothing to do with the agreed on recipe or method of SCAMPI STYLE.  Sauteed Peppers and Onions in the mix do not a Scampi make.  Call me closed minded but that would be Chicken with Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Wine, etc.  Next order of Shrimp Scampi you get, check to see if it comes loaded down with peppers and onions (hello, sometimes restaurants do that just to bulk up a dish…so, just putting that out there).  Don’t confuse my recipe with the one that comes from that ItalianAmerican chain restaurant…just saying.  What would you serve it with?  As much as I love Pasta this dish LOVES Rice or oven roasted potatoes.  Those would be my choices, you like the Pasta? use the Pasta. Quinoa, CousCous..Israel CousCous..all go nicely too.  The choice is yours…now let’s cook!

TIME: 1 hour   SERVES: 4

Ingredients:

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into 3 pieces and lightly pounded
1 CUP Seasoned  All Purpose Flour (Seasoned With Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic)
4 Tablespoons  EXTRA VIRGIN Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, SLICED THIN or MINCED
1 Cup White Wine
Juice From 1 Lemon,  5 thin lemon slices, for garnish.
1 Cup  ORGANIC LOW SODIUM Chicken Broth, preferably homemade
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh ITALIAN FLAT LEAF Parsley, plus some sprigs for garnish
Kosher Salt , Fresh Ground Black Pepper

SPLURGE HERE:  3 TBS. of EUROPEAN BUTTER, UNSALTED for finishing the sauce.  (no interest in the Euro-Butter?  ok, any unsalted butter will do. But that EuroButter….)

This recipe works best with pounding the chicken pieces.  Pound them to about 1/4 inch, no thicker.  Dredge them in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess.  AFO NOTE: why are we flouring them?  creates a moister chicken at the end of the saute’, helps create some body for the pan sauce without making it “thick”.  In a wide pan, add the olive oil and heat. Saute’ the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, till golden.chicscampi 025

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chicken dredged, going into the heated olive oil and browning for 8 minutes.

Remove the chicken which you’ve cooked in batches  ( AFO NOTE: crowding creates cooking chaos!!! the oil will drop in temp, the touching of the chicken will create steam pockets and there will be no browning.  Are you in a race?  OK, good, take your time cooking.  That’s what makes a dish..attention paid to all the details!!!) to a bowl or platter and tent with foil.

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That’s what the chicken should look like after it’s been sauteed.

Deglaze the pan with a little of the White Wine and pour it over the chicken.  Now add 2 tbs. of ExtraVirgin Olive oil to the pan and when it’s heated add the garlic and saute’ just till fragrant, only takes about 1 minute.chicscampi 020 To this add the wine and the broth, pinch of salt, and when reduced by 1/4 add the chicken back to the pan. Bring this to a boil then IMMEDIATELY reduce to a simmer.  Let this cook for only about 4 minutes then add the Lemon juice and the parsley.  Mix.  The move the chicken to the sides of the pan giving you a small area in the center to melt in the butter. As soon as it’s melted (takes only seconds) make sure it’s incorporated into the whole pan and all the chicken is coated.  Remove from the heat. Gently mix in the parsley and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

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how good does that? look..oh, wait..it’s going to look even better!!

Serve immediately.  AFO NOTE:  if you over heat the butter, it separates immediately and doesn’t thicken your sauce. Make sure you don’t over heat it!

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I told you it would look even better.  Thin lemon slices and parsley garnish this dish.

Enjoy your CHICKEN SCAMPI STYLE…btw, always test the chicken for it being fully cooked by slicing into a piece, it should be easy to slice into, the juices should run clear.

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and there’s the money shot..all dressed up and somewhere to go…into your mouth!! That’s the Chicken Scampi served over Rice and Broccoli Rabe, with a side of Zucchini Marinara.

 

POULET BASQUAISE, FRENCH BASQUE STYLE CHICKEN

156142_2992380330921_1304531591_32200242_158577316_nChicken braises are so delicious.  POULET BASQUAISE is one of my favorite chicken braises.  It comes from the border area FRANCE shares with SPAIN and there are many regional dishes which cross over even though Spanish Basques and French Basques can be different in many ways.  Chicken Basque style is the Basque cousin of Italy’s Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore)since it’s a whole cut chicken, browned in Olive Oil, then braised in a “Piperade”, a Basque specialty of slow cooked peppers, tomatoes,onions, garlic, and many times ham.  The ham is really a prosciutto type of ham..cured not smoked and is a specialty of BAYONNE , France.  Bayonne Ham is not readily available so you can use Prosciutto, just not smoked ham.  The ham is sliced, or diced and tossed into the saute’ at the beginning so it imparts some of that porky flavor to the chicken.. VERY NICE!! Today is Februrary 11 and in the French Catholic Calendar it’s the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes which is a small town just outside the PAYS BASQUE but close enough for me to tie in blogging this dish today.  Many vacationers to the PAYS BASQUE will make a close side trip to Lourdes and maybe have a plate of POULET BASQUAISE.  On a trip to Provence a few years ago I saw this dish on the menu and had to order it.  I’ve had it in NYC before and Provence was as close to Pays Basque as I was getting.  I’ve also made the dish in my kitchen so I wanted to see if I was close to the French versions.  I was.  004  I wonder if any of those pilgrims in that engraving of the Shrine of Lourdes fortified their bodies with Poulet Basquaise after fortifying their souls at the shrine?  A Food Obsession wonders these things..just sayin.  A great dish for the middle of the Winter and a great add to your list of dishes, ESPECIALLY when you’re moaning…”CHICKEN AGAIN, I’M SO SICK OF CHICKEN…I DON’T WANT TO MAKE IT THE SAME OLD WAY!” I’ll be your Tired Kitchen 911. Here to keep your kitchen vibrant and happy!!

SERVES: 4-5                                                 TIME: 1 Hour 20 minutes to prep and cook.  3hours to let sit before serving.

1 ORGANIC OR NATURAL CHICKEN, cut into 10 pieces

2 ONIONS, sliced

2 RED PEPPERS , sliced

2 GREEN PEPPERS, sliced

1/4 lb diced BAYONNE HAM or PROSCIUTTO (NOT SMOKED)

2 CLOVES GARLIC, sliced

1 28 oz CAN IMPORTED PLUM TOMATOES (like San Marzanos)

1/2 TSP. ESPLETTE PEPPER or HOT HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA

1/2 CUP WHITE WINE

1/8 CUP OLIVE OIL

SEA SALT

BAY LEAF, PARSLEY SPRIG, 3 THYME SPRIGS TIED TOGETHER

Heat 1/2 the oil in a dutch oven.  Season the chicken pieces with the Espelette or Cayenne pepper (ok, calm down, i’ll give you a nice side note on the bottom about Espelette) and Salt.  Brown the chicken, skin side down first.  About 10 minutes to get the skin rendered and colored nicely.  Flip and cook another 7 minutes.  With tongs, remove the chicken to a bowl.  Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping up all those delicious bits from the bottom . THAT IS PART OF THE FLAVOR OF YOUR SAUCE! Pour this over the chicken in the bowl and cover.  Add the balance of the olive oil to the pan and saute’ the ham until it gets slightly caramelized.  Take about 5 minutes, now add the Peppers and Onions and lightly salt this. Cook for a at least 8 minutes until the peppers and onions are soft. Add the chicken to the pot.162885_1500720160349_5853202_n  Pour the bowl juices over the chicken, then the tomatoes. Stir. Add the herbs.  Cover and let this cook for 20 minutes on medium.  Now uncover and let this cook for another 20 minutes.  The sauce will reduce and concentrate with all those flavors and the chicken will be fork tender.  Taste…TASTE TASTE TASTE!!!! Check for seasoning,  Remove the herbs.  Important step here…close the pot and let it sit on the back of the stove for at least 3 hours.  Then reheat and serve. There’s magic in all those steps.165994_3211681293308_1441686714_n (1)  OH the aroma from these herbs, spices, wine, chicken , and vegetables!  Let’s talk ESPELETTE.  It’s a chile pepper that is grown in the PAYS BASQUE region of France in the town of ESPELETTE, funny how that happens!  It’s sweet and spicy and smoky, sort of like Hot Hungarian Paprika which is why it’s a decent substitute. It’s available at well stocked spice markets or on line.  Cayenne works too.

I was served my Poulet Basquaise with linguine, maybe because I was eating it in Provence?  Closer to Italy?  I think roasted potatoes go nice with this along with a side salad with some goat cheese and pears or apples, frisee or chicory, and a dijon vinaigrette.  Rice is another choice. Up to you.    HAPPY COOKING!!!0041Don’t forget some sliced baguettes to pick up that sauce.  BON APPETIT!!!

 

 

 

 

ITALIAN EGG DROP AND SPINACH SOUP…STRACCIATELLA ALLA ROMANA

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Today’s  blogpost will introduce you to a favorite soup of mine, STRACCIATELLA ALLA ROMANA..translated it means Little Rags in the Roman Style.   Some of you may be confused because there’s a gelato flavor called STRACCIATELLA as well, a Vanilla gelato with ribbons of Chocolate throughout the mix.  When the ALLA ROMANA is added be assured it means a delicious rich clear meat  broth to which chopped spinach is added..and THEN, feel the excitement?, a mix of eggs beaten with black pepper and Parmigiano cheese is drizzled into the hot broth while you gently whisk  till the egg and cheese forms pieces/ribbons and then you are done.  The CLASSIC recipe will use a clear strong BEEF or MEAT Stock…Italian-Americans usually use a clear strong Chicken Stock.  Both are delicious.  The tradition of Stracciatella alla Romana was that it is a dish served in the dead of Winter at Christmas time.  In my Italian American home growing up with it’s Napoletana-Basilicata-Sicilian roots this was a common soup that Mom made.  No Roman in our house.  I do remember seeing it on Italian Restaurant menus during the 60’s and 70’s.  It’s not as popular now but when you bring it up when talking Italian foods people do perk up.  I think this falls under that Italian-American Comfort food umbrella, you know, the one where PASTINA resides.  Adding the Spinach might be a very Italian-American touch.  The original is made without it.    More often than not Mom used Grated Locatelli Pecorino for her soup not the usual Parmigiano SO I leave that up to you. Nutty and Mild is the flavor profile for the Parmigiano cheese..and Strong and Salty is the flavor profile of the Pecorino.  What do I like better?  Pecorino.  Don’t let me sway you.  Choose for yourself and make this wonderful soup.  I love when I can introduce people to something that once was so popular and now is…almost gone.  This soup was even served at my high school prom at the Hollywood Terrace in Brooklyn, 1979.  (YES, good food has always existed in Brooklyn, long before it was discovered by hipsters in the 2000’s…lol).  I considered this Italian Egg Drop Soup as opposed to Chinese – American take out EggDrop Soup.   I love them both.   So, ANDIAMO ALLA CUCINA..let’s go into the kitchen!

 

STRACCIATELLA ALLA ROMANA ———TIME:  1/2 HOUR     SERVES: 6

3 QUARTS CLEAR MEAT OR CHICKEN BROTH

2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED CLEANED BABY SPINACH

3 EGGS

3 TBS. SEMOLINA

1 TSP. FRESHLY GROuND BLACK PEPPER

4 TBS. FRESHLY GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO or LOCATELLI PECORINO ROMANO

1/4 TSP. GRATED LEMON ZEST (optional, i don’t use it, many recipes do)

PINCH OF GROUND NUTMEG

KOSHER SALT

Heat the BROTH  till boiling then add the SPINACH.   Reduce to medium.   While that is happening beat the eggs with the pepper, nutmeg, semolina,  and cheese.  Then drizzle it into the pot of simmering broth gently and CAREFULLY whisking the egg mixture in.

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Keep whisking until all the eggs have formed the “STRACCI”, or RAGS..the colorful name given to the coagulated egg mixture that looks like torn rags.  Now Stracciatella is very Roman but it’s also made in Le Marche and other Italian regions.  Let the soup cook for 2 minutes longer then turn off the heat.  Season with salt to taste if necessary

Ladle into the 6 bowls and sprinkle with more grated Cheese.   Serve.  Great memories of a soup my Mom used to make.  I add a little peperoncino to mine.

So when planning your Christmas menu remember this fits right in during that week between  Christmas Eve and Santo Stefano.  (Dec.24-26) but why wait?  Make it anytime!

 

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN WINGS WITH VINEGAR AND BREADCRUMBS

syd17 014  Chicken Wings can be a party planners best friend.  These packets of flavor have the best of all possible snack or starter (or entree) worlds all in a small hand held piece. The skin creates a self basting packet which keeps the meat inside moist and adds tons of flavor and texture. Chicken is like the flavor chameleon.  It readily takes on the flavors of what ever spices or sauces or coatings you’re giving it.  Who doesn’t like wings?  OK, those of you who raised your hand, you can leave the room now, but not until you share this post with someone you know who DOES love wings.  That’s a suitable punishment for such an offense.  Wings, gotta love them.  Wings are yet another food in your recipe arsenal that should have 1000 different varieties to choose from.  Ok, you probably have fried, or Teriyaki, or Buffalo, or some kind of grilled, but….DO YOU HAVE VINEGAR MARINATED AND BAKED WITH A FINISHING COATING OF SEASONED BREADCRUMBS???? I’ll venture a guess and say, no, no you do not.  My hope is that you sincerely thank me for this Foodcentric PSA that will have you making them over and over again.  I just made 72 for 13 kids who came over for my daughter’s birthday.  We also had 6 pizzas and a huge bowl of salad with Blue Cheese Dressing.  All the wings…GONE.  That should be your expectation!

The choice of chicken for this is also key.  Look for organic or natural chickens.  I don’t advise making this with Perdue wings. Why? The skin.  Perdue skin is entirely too thick and you will have flabby texture when you bite into them.  Not putting out a hate on Perdue, but they do not bake the way the whiter, thinner skinned chicken wings do.  You’ve been warned.syd17 003  See the color of those wings?  It’s not that golden yellow.  These will cook way better for you.  OK, onto the cooking..

FOR 36 WINGS                                     3HOURS TOTAL

36 WING PIECES

1/8 CUP APPLE CIDER OR SHERRY VINEGAR

1/8 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

1/2  TSP. KOSHER SALT

1/2 TSP GROUND BLACK PEPPER

1/2 TSP. SWEET PAPRIKA

1/2 TSP SMOKED PAPRIKA

1/2 TSP CRUMBLED DRIED OREGANO

1 TSP. GRANULATED GARLIC OR 3 CLOVES finely minced or pushed through a Garlic Press

1/2 TSP GROUND THYME

Whisk all the ingredients and  pour over the wings, Let them soak in this marinade for at least 1 hour, longer if you like.

1/2 cup BREADCRUMBS

1/4 CUP GRATED PECORINO OR PARMIGIANO CHEESE

pinch of OREGANO

1/2 TSP KOSHER SALT

1/8 TSP CAYENNE

1/8 TSP, GRANULATED GARLIC

mix this together till blended.

3 TBS UNSALTED BUTTER (you will be melting this later)

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking  tray with foil.  (When you are cleaning this up you will again THANK ME for the foil tip).  Arrange wings on one or two trays depending on space. I made a double batch in this picture:syd17 002

Pour the remaining marinade over the wings.  OH..make sure you oil the foil first…sorry. Let’s move on now. Place in the oven on the bottom and middle rack and let this bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven carefully and top each wing with about 1/2 tsp of the crumb mixture.  Melt the butter and drizzle a small bit over each wing.  Back into the oven for an additional   15-20 minutes or till browned and done. This is how they will/should look:syd17 008and up close they will look like this:sydbday15 008 I love a food close up!! Want another angle? ok, here it is:syd17 012 Let them sit for at least 8 minutes before removing them to a serving tray. Gently move a spatula under them to loosen from the foil and try really hard not to pop them in your mouth.  Ok, are you asking…where’s the sauce?  America loves it’s dipping sauces.  Seriously, for these? You don’t need any. It’s a lazy cooks way of making a hybrid of breaded chicken with baked chicken.  Just enough coating on the top to make a difference from no breading at all.  If you did need a sauce…ok…tabasco and honey or just tabasco or tabasco and ranch…up to you..it’s a no win situation figuring that out because  …you really don’t need any..BUT…i’ll leave that bit of creativity up to you.

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PINEAPPLE TEQUILA MARINATED GRILLED CHICKEN…

542515_3251677893198_1909468499_n 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

MARINADE:

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

CHICKEN:

12 TRIMMED AND POUNDED to no less than 1/4 inch (ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE)  BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS OR BREAST

KOSHER SALT, BLACK PEPPER

AGAVE NECTAR

CHILE POWDER

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!!!

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