Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Triple S (Sweet, Sour, & Spicy) Chicken

   It is the first day of June and the temperatures are already over 100 deg F here in Jacksonville, NC.  I don't remember it being this hot last summer.  At least that means the beaches are nice!  Because of the location on the coast, there is a constant gale force wind breeze on the Atlantic side of the islands.  So when the temperatures are in the 80's, it can actually be a little cool.  However, when it is hotter the breeze makes is perfect beach faring weather.

   Now, in my delusional world, I have pictured all of you grilling this past weekend (unless you were working at a Renaissance festival.)  Because you have spent the past weekend grilling, I imagine that your love for outdoor cooking has been dusted off for the summer.  We made this chicken dish a few weeks ago.  Louis found the recipe in Bobby Flay's Grill It!  I accidentally lied to him and said we had red wine vinegar.  So we had to change it, but honestly, I can't imagine the red wine vinegar being better than what we came up with.  Also, our ratios ended up being a little different (the liquid to solid portions of the sauce) but, again, can't believe the original is better.  Our version is spicier, but not too spicy by any means!  Everything is balanced and each note plays off the other flavors in this Caribbean-inspired chicken dish.
Triple S Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 C white vinegar
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C (unpacked) brown sugar
1/2 C pineapple juice
1 lrg jalepeno, roughly chopped (seeds and all)*
2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 lrg clove garlic, smashed
1/4 lrg red bell pepper, diced**
1/4 lrg yellow bell pepper, diced
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro (or parsley)
salt and pepper

   In a pot over medium heat, combine vinegars, sugar, pineapple juice, jalepeno, garlic and ginger.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce by 1/3, stir occasionally.  Strain through a mesh sieve to remove chunks.  Add bell peppers and cilantro.  (Does not need to be hot for service, but does need to be room temp.  This could be done a day in advance if you like.) 
   Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Use a meat mallet to gently pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 3/4- 1 inch thick.  Salt and pepper both sides.  Place on a med-hot prepped grill (gas or charcoal).  Cook for 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how large and thick the breasts are.  When done, remove to a plate and immediately spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.  Let rest for 7-10 minutes.  Add more sauce for serving.
   Serves 4.

*Worried about the heat level?  You can use a small jalepeno instead of a large one and/or remove the seeds from the chili.

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