Peruvian Grilled Chicken and Pineapple-Easy and Delicious

Here’s a recipe I originally tried for a South American food themed party. It’s a very easy recipe but it does take 24hrs for the marinade part, so it’s not one of those spur of the moment things. I used 3 ½ pounds of boned, skinless thighs instead of the chicken quarters and it turned out fantastic. The other day whole “free range” chickens were on sale so I decided to try it again using the chicken quarters. Again, the results were perfect. I had worried that the white meat wouldn’t be as juicy, but that was definitely not the case.

You can make the grilled pineapple by cutting a whole fresh pineapple into ½” slices, removing the outside skin (I think it’s easier to do this after slicing the pineapple.), then lightly coating the slices with a light cooking oil, like canola, just before grilling. Grill until browned on each side.

If you don’t want to try the grilled pineapple with the main course, then how about some for dessert. Serve the grilled pineapple slightly warm, topped with pineapple coconut ice cream. It’s the perfect combination.

Lightly steamed baby bok choy, drizzled with a little toasted sesame oil rounded out the meal.

Peruvian Grilled Chicken (Pollo a la brasa)

From epicurious.com

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

5 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dired oregano

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ pounds, quartered

Marinade:

Blend soy sauce, lime juice, garlic cumin, paprika, oregano, ½ teaspoon pepper and oil in a blender.

Put chicken in a large sealable bag and add marinade. Seal bag and mainate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.

To Grill:

Discard marinade, then pat chicken dry. Grill covered, over low heat about 10 – 15 minutes per side.

Note:

If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, chicken (quartered) can be roasted in middle of a 500°F oven in a 13 by 9 –inch roasting pan with 1 cup water 30 minutes, then tented with foil and roasted until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes more.

Serves 2 – 4

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My “Magic Three” Saved The Day Again.

There are three ingredients I can almost always count on having on hand in my kitchen, fresh carrots and celery and onions. This handy trio is the basis for many of the recipes I throw together, especially when there isn’t anything else in my veggie bin. Today was one of those days so, I started thinking about what I wanted to throw together using the “magic three”.  I decided to make a peasant-style risotto, which is a favorite that I haven’t made in quite a while.

This recipe is great because it’s so basic it can be easily modified. You can add little bits of veggies you might have left over from earlier in the week. Things like a couple pieces of asparagus, a little broccoli, green peas or mushrooms would all work. You can also add just about any kind of cooked meat or sausage. Spicy sausages really taste great in this.

I had a couple of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked so I coated them with some olive oil and grilled them. I love grilling. It’s quick and doesn’t take an extra pan. I cubed the grilled thighs and set them aside.

Next I chopped one medium carrot, one stalk of celery and one small onion. I also added about 12 chopped crimini  mushrooms since I had them and they needed to be used. The rule of thumb I try to  to keep in mind regarding the “magic three” is that the individual amounts should about the same. You could also add some fresh chopped thyme or sage at this point. Next, measure about 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth into a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave until hot but not yet simmering. Keep warm.

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top. Add the “magic three” ingredients any other veggies you have, and the chopped herbs if you decide to include some and saute gently until the onion is golden, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup Arborio rice (or I use California short grain white rice) and stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes or until the rice is well coated with oil.

Next, increase the heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of the hot broth, stirring constantly. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add another 1 cup broth and continue stirring. Repeat as necessary for approximately 16 – 20 minutes, or until the rice is al dente, or firm to the bite, or softer if you’re like me and prefer it that way. Yes, this does take a lot of stirring, but if you pour yourself a nice glass of wine and put on some great tunes to sing along to the time just flies by.

When you have the rice just like you like it remove the risotto from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and any cooked meat you might want to add. In my case this is where I added the chopped grilled chicken. Serve the Risotto immediately.

What to buy at the Farmers’ Market:

Carrots

Celery

Onions

I Love Onions!

I can’t imagine cooking without onions. They are one of the basics I always keep on hand. During the winter months I use both the red and yellow dry-skinned onions. I pick onions that are firm and have papery skins that crackle. Onions that smell moldy or that feel soft, especially at the neck are to be avoided.

Here’s a quick little recipe I made tonight using onions, some leftover shitake mushrooms, a little chard, leftover grilled chicken and brown rice. I love throwing together this kind of quick meal. First I slice the mushrooms and brown them in a little canola oil. Then, I add the sliced onion and chard stems, and sauté them until they were just crisp-tender. Next, I add some shredded chard leaves and a little chicken stock, cover the pan and simmer it until the chard is wilted and the onions and chard stems are tender. In a soup bowl place some leftover brown rice and diced leftover grilled chicken, cover it with a plate and warm it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Just before serving I add a little sesame oil to the onion/chard/mushroom mixture, toss it, then place it on top of the chicken and rice. Quick. Satisfying. Nutritious.

Ingredients to look for at the Farmers’ Market:

Dry-skinned onions

Mushrooms

Chard, spinach or beet greens

Organic short grain brown rice

Organic, free-range chicken

Simple Lunch With A Friend

Today, I decided to grill a chicken I had just bought. I had purchased it in its whole state instead of pieces so I could save some money. An important thing for me these days. Since I was going to grill all of it I decided I’d invite a friend of mine over for a simple lunch, grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and fried smashed potatoes.

The chicken was easy, I split it into halves and rubbed them down with a nice garlic-flavored olive oil, then placed them on the grill over low heat. I figured it would take a good hour to roast them this way.

Once I put the chicken on the grill, I put some really fresh, small sized, red skinned potatoes into some water to cook. They take about 20 minutes to become soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. I wanted the potatoes to be done before the chicken so they could cool down a bit. After they were cooled down, I placed them in between layers of a dishtowel* and smash them gently with the palm of my hand till they are about 1/4″ thick.  Next I fry the little potato patties in olive oil, in a nonstick pan until they are nicely browned and crispy. Then I flip them over and brown the other side. When they are done I remove them to paper towels to remove any excess olive oil, then I sprinkle them lightly with a little sea salt. These little beauties are so delicious, crispy outside and soft and creamy inside. I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have served them that there weren’t rave reviews and requests for “how I made them”.

The broccoli was a nice little head I had just bought at the Farmers’ Market. I cut it into small portions and steamed it until it was “crisp-tender”. It was served without butter or oil. When you start with the best and keep it simple, your food will always turn out delicious. We enjoyed our meal at the table in the kitchen where the french doors had been opened wide, letting in the warm afternoon sun.

*Note: I have found that when I have tried smashing the potatoes between sheets of paper towel that the paper tends to stick to the potato. The cloth doesn’t stick.