Monday, May 30, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Grilled Chicken

My latest obsession is the cookbook, "My Grill" by Pete Evans, who is another Australian sensation – chef, restaurateur, and television personality.  While I am the ultimate foodie and put substance over form, I admit his rugged good looks caused me to rush to Williams Sonoma in hopes a copy was in stock.  Lucky me, it was going to be a “g’day”!  If only Jaime Drurie would offer--at his cost, of course--to convert my backyard into an outdoor culinary wonderland.  What an Australian exacta that would be! 

I love this collection of recipes for they are easily executed, packed with flavor, and a twist on our usual American grilling go-to recipes.  There are about 20 recipes that I have earmarked to try, and to date I have tried two. 

One was so delicious I constructed an entire dinner party menu around a Moroccan inspired dish called Charmoula-Rubbed Chicken with Yogurt & Mint Sauce. The Charmoula Marinade can be used in a variety of ways – as a marinade for shrimp, as coating on a fillet of firm fish, in tagine dishes, or spread on a leg of lamb.  For the skeptical, this is not the green, gelatinous mint sauce that is served with lamb.  It is luscious in texture, refreshing on the palate, and the perfect accompaniment to this dish. 

Kitchen Tools:
Airtight Container to Marinate Chicken
Grill (barbeque preferable, but could be done on grill pan or griddler)

Charmoula-Rubbed Chicken with Yogurt & Mint Sauce
(Serves 4-6)
4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
(butterflied and quartered small chickens can also be used if you prefer)

Charmoula Marinade
1 large handful of fresh cilantro (leaves, stem, root) chopped
1 large handful of fresh Italian parsley chopped (not the curly kind used to garnish plates at Denny's, it is flat and looks similar to cilantro with longer leaves and less aroma)
3 garlic cloves chopped (if you like garlic you can add more depending on your taste)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Thai Chile, seeded, chopped*
3 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of a lemon if you have fresh lemons)
4 tablespoons olive oil

*A tip on seeding the chile - cut off the stem/top with a knife, use your vegetable peeler to scoop out the seeds and membrane by twisting inside the chile.   Williams Sonoma does sell a special tool for this, but the vegetable peeler works just as well and you will make Alton Brown happy

To make the marinade, place the cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, chile and lemon juice in a food processor.  While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil and process until smooth.  Rub the charmoula marinade over the chicken and let stand for at least 30 minutes or, better yet, overnight in the refrigerator.

Yogurt & Mint Sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 jalapeno chile, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoon finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon strained lime juice
1/3 cup thick plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt because I like the texture/flavor profile)

Mix together the cilantro, mint, chile, onion, fish sauce, lime juice, and yogurt in a bowl.  Make sure not to over mix or the yogurt will split and make the sauce too thin.

Grilling Time!

Set up your outdoor grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat.  Lightly oil the grill grate and place the chicken on the grill.  Do not take the marinade off the chicken.  Cook on one side for 5-10 minutes.* Flip check and cook another 5-10 minutes until golden. (My grill is 6 minutes per side for perfect chicken.)

*Important not to touch chicken to see if it is cooking - when grilling, or cooking meat, put it down and let it cook for designated time.  Resist the temptation to check on progress.  Moving meat does not make it stick less; it generally makes it stick more!

Serving Time!

Place the chicken on a plate, with a side of the Yogurt & Mint Sauce.  Delicious!  I accompanied this dish with Grilled Corn with Chile & Lime and an Israeli Couscous to which I added a variety of vegetables for color and flavor .   You will find this to be a light, refreshing, summer-time meal. 

PS - Don't forget the wine.  My local wine merchant, Dan's Wine Shop, selected a wine that beautifully complimented the spicy flavors of this meal.

1 comment:

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