Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breast with Tomato Jam

  It's official; summer is on our doorstep.  Sonic is open until midnight.  Memorial Day is rolling in on Monday for you lucky ducks that have a long weekend.  (Just know I'll be giving you the stink eye, because I'm working.)  I figure it's time to share a grilling recipe.  Gas up the grills, if you haven't already.  This one probably has the longest ingredient list out of the recipes I make, but it's not complex, and a great wake-up from the winter doldrums.  Spicy - not for the faint of tastebud.  It's a tweaked version of a Bobby Flay recipe he fired up on a Boy Meets Grill episode.  I don't care much for the herbed yogurt Bobby made to accompany this dish, so I use sour cream to tame the heat.  If you wander by FN's website and see this dish -do not go by the amounts listed there- you will end up wasting lots of spices.

Let's start off by making the Grilled Tomato Jam - it'll need a little cooling time and has the longest cooking time.

Grilled Tomato Jam
Yields about 6 servings

5 Roma tomatoes (also known as plum tomatoes)
1 serrano chile
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pinch turmeric or saffron (I'm on a budget, so I use the turmeric since I need it for the chicken anyway- original recipe calls for saffron)

  We're going to start by prepping and grilling our tomatoes and chile.  Brush the tomatoes and chile with about 1 TBS of the oil.  Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Grill the tomatoes and chile until you get a char on all sides - this won't take long at all, so don't wander off from the grill.  Remove from the grill and to a plate and let cool until you can handle them.  Give them a rough chop.  Optional: I seed my chile at this point, because the spice rub for the chicken is plenty hot.  If you go that route, wear gloves and don't rub your eyes!

  Heat up the remaining 2 TBS of oil in a medium saucepan.  Toss in the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft. Add in the chopped tomatoes, chile, balsamic vinegar and saffron. (Sub a bit of turmeric if you don't have saffron.) Cook the mixture down on medium-low until it gets thick - I usually go 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before you serve.

*  After the mixture cools, I take an immersion blender and blend it just a bit, so it's a bit smoother but still has chunks, as a personal preference.

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breasts 
Serves 4

2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne (can reduce to 1/2 teaspoon if you're worried about the heat)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (may need a bit more)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 8 ounces each
4 whole pitas
Sour cream

  Heat up your grill to medium high.

  Pound your chicken breasts until they are even thickness, if needed.

  Make the spice paste - mix all of the spices and oil together in a small bowl. The paste will be thick, and you can add more oil if needed to achieve a paste consistency.

  Spread a thin layer of the spice paste on ONE side of the chicken ONLY.  If you do both sides, the spices will be too overwhelming. Trust me, it'll have plenty of taste.

  Grill your chicken until cooked through - about 3-4 minutes on each side. Pull the chicken off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice the grilled breasts, 1/2 inch thick slices.

  While the chicken is resting, warm the pitas on the grill - just until they are pliable. Top with the chicken slices and serve with grilled tomato jam and sour cream.

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