GRILLED CHICKEN PAILLARDS

Even during my pre-blogging days, repeating a recipe more than twice a month was quite unusual.  I’ve always enjoyed trying new recipes, and reserved the “oldies but goodies” for those extra-busy days in which I need something I can almost make in my sleep (chicken parmigiana is a good example).  Having said all that, here comes the shocker:  in the past month, I’ve made this chicken six times.  Six. Obviously, this new found friend is on the fast track to become an “oldie but goodie”.    😉

GRILLED CHICKEN PAILLARDS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

3 chicken breasts, boneless, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup lemon juice + zest
1/8 cup lime  juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or less)
1 Tbsp honey
salt and coarsely ground black pepper

After slicing  each chicken breast in half, pound them carefully with a meat mallet (protecting the meat with some plastic wrap), until you have a thin filet, preferably less than  1/2 inch thick. You can see photos of the process here.

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade (lemon juice + zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes), whisk well.  No need to try and form a stable emulsion,  just mix well and add the marinade to the chicken, coating the meat well.  Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook it, remove it from the fridge  and leave the filets in a single layer on a baking dish for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature.  Right before grilling,  season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Cook on a hot grill for 6-8 minutes total time, flipping the filets halfway through cooking time, and serve it with lime or lemon slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I love many things about this recipe: the citric flavor, boosted by the ginger, the way the small amount of honey ensures gorgeous grill marks with a deep brown tone, how quickly it comes to the table, and how it shines next to many side dishes, from salads to pasta, from rice to couscous.

Since I use a high proportion of citric juice to olive oil, at first I was worried that a long marinating time could hurt the meat.  This recipe was put to test when I had to change plans for our dinner, and my marinating chicken breasts stayed in the fridge for 2 days!   No problem whatsoever, the meat turned out great, with a slightly more intense citric flavor, but no unpleasant “mushiness” from excessive interaction with acidity.

Leftovers are perfect as part of a high protein lunch, if you are into that sort of meal.  I make my little yogurt-oatmeal pancake, a hard-boiled egg to go with it, and call it a day…

You can vary this recipe in countless ways.  Use white wine as part of your marinade, use orange juice instead of lemon juice, or orange marmalade in place of honey.  The idea is to have acidity plus sweetness (from honey or agave nectar, or even brown sugar), and a little oil to make sure the thin cutlets won’t end up all dry and tasteless. Of course, do not over-cook the meat, keep an eye on it, the temperature of grills may vary a lot, ours tries to mimic the surface of the sun.  😉

Note added after publication:  I just saw a blog by Greg for Asian Fusion chicken, and he adds Sriracha to his marinade.  Genius!  Check it out here.  I’ll be trying it next time.

ONE YEAR AGO: Slow-baked Salmon

TWO YEARS  AGO: Hoisin Explosion

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CHICKEN MARSALA

Chicken breasts… mushrooms…  Marsala wine… what’s not to like? This classic Italian dish is a breeze  to prepare, and a perfect option for a romantic dinner for two.

CHICKEN MARSALA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 boneless chicken breast filets
salt and pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cups of mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
minced Italian parsley

If the chicken filets are too thick, slice them in half running the knife parallel to the cutting board, and pressing the filets gently down with the palm of your hand.  Pound them slightly to even the thickness.   Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and olive oil in medium-high heat on a large skillet, when the butter foams and starts to get golden, add the chicken filets and cook until they develop a nice color on both sides (about 4 minutes per side, depending on your stove).  Remove them to a platter, tent with aluminum foil.

Add the diced shallot to the pan (if necessary add a little more olive oil, but you probably won’t need it), cook in medium heat for a couple of minutes, add all the mushrooms and cook stirring every once in a while until they start to get soft. Season lightly with salt, add the Marsala wine, and cook until almost fully absorbed, about 5 minutes.   Add the chicken stock (or water), place the chicken filets back in the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until fully cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter, increase the heat to reduce the mushroom sauce to the consistency you like.  Optional step: add a couple of tablespoons of cold butter in small pieces, swirling the sauce after each addition.  Adjust seasoning, spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle parsley on top.   Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I didn’t give a precise source for this recipe, because I’ve been making it for years, the first time I probably got it from one of my cooking books back in Brazil, decades ago.   Some recipes will instruct you to coat the filets in a little seasoned flour.   I prefer the texture of the meat seared without it.  The flour coating does help thicken the sauce in the end, but I don’t mind skipping it.  Similarly, most recipes call for a final addition of butter.  Depending on my mood, I might add it or not.  For this dinner, I omitted it, the sauce was plenty flavorful without it.

I only had regular mushrooms, but if you find creminis or other types of  mushrooms, add them to the party.  Would you be considering a final swirl of truffle oil?  A word of caution:  truffle oil is made by infusing olive oil with  bis-methylthio-methane, a chemical that mimics their taste.  I never buy the stuff, being exposed to enough organic chemicals in my work.  Still, some shaved truffles (the real thing)  on top of this dish could turn that dinner date into “An Affair to Remember”  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Home, sweet home

TWO YEARS AGO: Levain Bread with Caramelized Onions

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