Friday, June 20, 2008

Chicken on the Grill, Installment No. 1,401

Summer and grilling are practically synonymous; add chicken to the mix and you’re on the way to a delicious menu. Outdoor grilling has never been easier; here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with a clean grilling rack. Use a coarse brush to scrape away debris;
  • Grates can be lightly oiled or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray to prevent chicken from sticking;
  • Grill any chicken parts over steady, medium heat;
  • Bone-in chicken meat takes longer to cook, and should be placed on the grill first. Place on hottest part of the grill and continually turn pieces. Cook thinner pieces for a shorter period of time, and over higher heat
  • Chicken breasts can be grilled with or without the skin on, but will be juicier if cooked with skin on. Remove skin after cooking to lower total calorie and fat content.

From the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, here are two new chicken grilling recipes to try during the hot summer months.

Asian Chicken Skewers with Hot and Sour Mango Dip

This works well as an appetizer or an entrée that adults and kids both will enjoy. Start by marinating chicken tenderloins in a mixture of garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, cilantro, salt and coconut milk. Then thread onto bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water. Grill the skewers while making the mango-flavored dipping sauce by reducing mango nectar with Asian spices. Serve over rice and with a summer green vegetable like zucchini for an entrée, or pile skewers on a platter to serve as appetizers.

Serves 4

1 ½ pounds chicken tenderloins
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBLS ground cumin
2 tsps chili powder
2 tsps paprika
2 tsps brown sugar
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup lite coconut milk
Hot and Sour Mango Dip:
1 tsp olive oil
4 scallions, minced
1 tsp minced jalapeno pepper
1 can (11.3 oz) mango nectar
1 TBLS brown sugar
¼ tsp allspice
1 TBLS lime juice
½ tsp kosher salt
2 TBLS chopped cilantro
3 TBLS chopped mint

In large bowl, combine minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and lite coconut milk. Stir well to blend. Add chicken tenderloins, toss to coat, and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill.

In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add scallions and jalapeno; sauté until barely translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mango nectar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, allspice, lime juice and ½ teaspoon kosher; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer sauce about 20 minutes, until thickened and reduced by half. Cool; stir in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and mint. Set aside.

Thread one piece of chicken tenderloin onto a wooden skewer that has been soaked in water. Repeat until all pieces are threaded. Place on grill and cook about 3 – 4 minutes per side, turning once, until cooked through. Serve skewered chicken with Hot and Sour Mango Dip.

Nutrition Information, Per Serving:
270 calories; 7 g fat; 2.5 g saturated fat; 18 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber

Grilled Chicken Parcels with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

This light summer recipe is full of the flavors of summer. Start by blanching romaine lettuce leaves in boiling and then ice water. Then combine ground chicken with garlic, Italian seasonings and salt; form the mixture into balls and place on top of each lettuce leaf, along with a slice of Fontina cheese and a basil leaf. Roll the lettuce leaves into round packages; secure with wooden toothpicks and place on the grill. Serve the chicken parcels with a vinaigrette dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil and halved grape tomatoes.

Serves 4

1 pound ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBLS dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper

Chicken Parcels:
12 romaine lettuce leaves
12 basil leaves
6 ounces Fontina cheese, sliced into 12 thin pieces
1 TBLS olive oil
Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBLS balsamic vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tsps basil, finely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Using tongs, blanch the romaine lettuce leaves by plunging them, one by one, into the boiling water for 2 – 3 seconds each, then placing in ice bath. When all leaves are blanched, spread out to dry on paper towels.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill.

In large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place one romaine lettuce leaf on flat surface; top with basil leaf. Add 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture and a slice of Fontina cheese. Fold leaf bottom in, then the sides up, and finally the top down, so that filling is completely enclosed. Use two wooden toothpicks to hold the parcel together; set aside. Repeat procedure until 12 parcels are formed.

In medium bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir in chopped basil and tomato halves.

Brush parcels with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on grill. Cook for 6 minutes; turn and cook other side for additional 6 minutes or until chicken is completely cook through. Serve with spoonful of tomato-basil vinaigrette.

Nutrition Information, Per Serving:
500 calories; 40 g fat; 13 g saturated fat; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber