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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SABU’S SPICY COCONUT CHICKEN

I found this recipe over at Eat.at forum and right away I knew that we were going to love it. It’s loaded with tropical flavors, plus a hot kick of cayenne and curry. I used part of the marinade as a sauce, and served it with plenty of white rice to soak it up. The original recipe, from many years ago in tikiroom.com, was by “Sabu, the Coconut Boy.”  I guess he knows his coconuts, because this recipe really delivers! 😉

SABU’S SPICY COCONUT CHICKEN
(adapted from tikiroom.com)

for marinade/sauce:
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (I used light)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Lower the heat and reduce the marinade for 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. Place the chicken breasts in a dish and pour most of the marinade over them, saving some to warm up later as a sauce. Make sure both sides of the breasts are coated with the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better).

Remove the chicken from the marinade, season lightly with salt, and grill until done but still tender.  While the chicken is grilling, warm the reserved marinade.  When the chicken breasts are cooked,  let them rest at room temperature for a few minutes, slice, and arrange on a serving platter, and drizzle the sauce over the meat.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: In the original version the chicken breasts were grilled, cut lengthwise into thin slices, threaded in skewers, brushed with the marinade and rolled in sweetened coconut flakes. I am not too fond of sweet coconut in savory dishes, so I omitted that step.  The marinade was superb in its second role to sauce the meat.   The orange flavor breaks through, which is surprising (considering the power of coconut milk and curry)  and refreshing.

A perfect Monday dinner: Spicy Coconut Chicken, Basmati rice, and roasted cauliflower (lightly coated with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, cumin and cooked in a 400F oven until golden brown).

ONE YEAR AGO: Poolish Baguettes

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