Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Versatility Of Chicken

Good evening everyone! We’re back after another brief birthday hiatus (this time it was my turn). Tonight we have a simple seasoned chicken dish that’s perfect for summertime. Utilizing fresh ingredients that are in their prime during the summer months and incorporating the grill this straightforward dish is built this season. Let’s get cooking!

The Recipe: Chile Rubbed Grilled Chicken With Salsa
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine April 2012 Issue

What You’ll Need
(Serves 4)

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus additional for grill)
1 Small Clove Garlic (Finely grated)
1 ½ Teaspoons Ancho Chile Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Paprika
½ Teaspoon Chipotle Chile Powder
1 Teaspoon Lime Juice
Lime Wedges (For serving)

For The Salsa:
2 Tomatoes (Diced)
2 Tomatillos (Husked, diced, rinsed)
¼ Cup Red Onion (Diced)
3 Teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice

We introduced ancho chile powder to the blog’s repertoire a month ago when we tried to duplicate Chipotle’s famous grilled chicken burritos. We found that ancho was surprisingly mild and almost slightly fruity as far as chile seasonings are concerned, making it unique and hard to duplicate with other spices. We also found that this powder is not very hard to find – so be sure to track it down in your local spice shop or grocery store.

Tomatillos, for those who have never heard of them before, are small husked fruits that originated in Mexico. The bright green fruit can be tracked down in most grocery store Hispanic aisles or even in the fresh produce section. If you don’t feel ambitious to try a new region’s fruit, you can simply purchase fresh salsa (the kind without the tomato sauce base) and use that in place of making the salsa in this recipe.

To prepare the salsa, toss the tomatoes, tomatillos and red onion in a small bowl with the 3 teaspoons of fresh lime juice. Season the mixture lightly with salt and store in the refrigerator (covered) until needed.

Begin preparing the chicken by taking a sharp chefs knife and butterflying each breast. To butterfly, simply begin slicing the breast at or around the center and cut from one edge to the other – stopping about ½ inch to ¼ inch from the other edge. Spread the breast open like a book and press the chicken lightly so it lies flat.

In a medium bowl, combine your spices (garlic, ancho, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle and 1 teaspoon lime juice) with the teaspoon of olive oil. Whisk lightly until everything has blended. The original recipe calls for you to dredge the chicken through the seasoning - after adding the olive oil and mixing the spices, everything clumps up making dredging impossible. Instead, simply use a spoon (or if you're not too worried about messy fingers, simply use your hands, making sure to coat each side evenly in the seasoning.

Once seasoned, place the chicken on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Store the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours to allow the seasoning to marinade the breasts.

Once your chicken has marinated for a satisfactory amount of time, begin preheating your grill to medium heat. (If you’re cooking indoors, feel free to use a grill pan over medium high heat). Once heated, lightly brush the grill with olive oil and then place your chicken on the grill.

Cook the chicken for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer). Once the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a serving plate and top with the fresh salsa. Serve and enjoy!

The Results:

Grilled chicken is a classic component of summer. Its basic flavor profile and ease of cooking make perfect for recipes such as this. The spice marinade blends rich, warm spices (ancho, coriander, cumin) with a few hot spices (chipotle, paprika) to create a balanced flavorful dish. The neutral flavor of the juicy chicken breast acts as a great vessel to deliver this combination and the fresh salsa is just a nice ‘cherry’ on top of the whole dish.

At 340 calories per serving and with how easy this dish is to prepare, it makes a great summer weeknight meal. Be sure to give it a shot yourself!

That’s all we have for you this evening. Maggie takes to the kitchen tomorrow night with a brand new recipe – one that features a new food type for Maggie. Following that, Maggie will share a recipe for a no-bake desert that’s sure to please the whole family. Look for that recipe on Friday or Saturday. Until tomorrow,


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