Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Close Your Eyes & Dream of Summer

Good evening everyone! We're starting to run into our first hints of spring here in the Des Moines metro. I know that these warmer temps (if you want to call 40 degrees 'warm') and bright sunny days are simply an illusion, but I still can't help but feel upbeat that spring is now closer than it ever has been before.

With a spring mindset, I decided to cook up a dish that invokes the memories of spring and summer - BBQ. We've tried our fare share of BBQ dishes on the blog, from sauces and slow roasts to dry rubs and stove tops. What we've never tried, however, is a dry rub on chicken (we typically have used dry rubs for pork). When I found a new dry rub recipe, courtesy of blog favorite, Jamie Oliver, I decided tonight was the time to change that. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: BBQ Rub Chicken with Citrus Vegetables
Dry Rub Recipe From: Jamie's America

What You'll Need:
(Serves 2)

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (Trimmed of fat)
1 Bag Frozen Vegetable Medley (Peas, carrots, green beans)
1 Lemon

For The Rub:

1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds (Mashed with a pestel and mortar)
2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
Zest from one orange
Pinch of salt and pepper

To make the rub:

In a small bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients and toss until you achieve even distribution. Ideally, apply your rub to the chicken breasts 4-8 hours prior to cooking them, that way the flavors can truly marinate into each breast. Cover each breast liberally with the rub and then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store the chicken in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook.

To prepare the citrus vegetables:

Nothing goes better with summertime BBQ flavors like some freshly steamed veggies with a little lemon juice. Since we're not exactly in prime veggie season in the midwest (with the ground being frozen and all) we're using the next best thing - 'fresh' frozen vegetables.

Pull out a large sheet of aluminum foil and add the frozen vegerables to teh center. Zest your lemon, adding the zest evenly across the vegetables. Next, pull up the sides of the foil to create a 'pouch' around the veggies. (See the picture below) Don't pull it closed just yet. Squeeze the juice from your lemon in the pouch, then seal it tightly.

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees (this can also be made on the grill, but since it's still winter, we're using the oven).

Pop your foil packed veggies into the oven a few minutes before you add the chicken. They'll take a little bit longer to cook.

Set a wire baking rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat it lightly in non-stick cooking spray. Place your chicken breasts on the wire rack and into the oven. Allow them to cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

Once your chicken is hot, remove the chicken and veggies from the foil and serve. If you'd like, cook up some homemade BBQ sauce to serve along side the chicken or simply enjoy the chicken with the rub.

The Results:

It might not be summertime outside, but it's summer at the dinner table when you cook up this dish. This rub was a new twist for me, I had never used one with fennel seeds before. The fennel orange combination actual balances quite nicely, adding a layer of citrus depth with the aromatic flavors of the fennel. Of course, paprika and brown sugar, two staples of any dry rub, make sure the BBQ flavor shines through brightest of all. Alongside a helping of fresh citrus infused veggies, this meal is light on calories (350 per serving) and heavy on great flavor!

That's all we have for you this evening, stop by tomorrow night as Maggie puts a new twist on a long time blog favorite. Until then,


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