Grilled Chipotle Lime Chicken ~ Spinach-Almond-Craisin Salad
Honey Butter Biscuits ~ Pineapple Macamia Nut Meringue Pie
These recipes are from the June 2006 issue of Gourmet: The Magazine of Good Living. Get out of the rut of fixing the same old foods! Wouldn’t it be fun cooking together even if we are apart ?
One reason I often don’t try new recipes, especially more involved ones, is that I get overwhelmed. Over the last year I have learned that if I do everything I can the day before or even the morning of, I actually enjoy cooking and serving the meal. The night before I diced my fresh pineapple into the tiny cubes, squeezed all those limes, made my blackberry sauce, and put my chicken in a zip lock bag. The day of the meal I made my pie crusts and marinade early in the day. I set the table, finished up the little pies and made the spinach salad a few hours before it was time to put the meal together and everything went great.
I found organic, all-vegetable fed, boneless skinless chicken thighs at Wal-Mart. The only other ingredients I did not have on hand were limes, blackberry jam, and macadamia nuts so this nice gourmet meal did not cost anymore than our normal meals.
What I did different than the recipes and what I would do next time:
I mixed some melted butter with a dash of TruLemon and a little honey and brushed the tops of the Pillsbury flaky biscuits before I baked them and served with blackberry jam. Next time I would not make the individual tarts in the muffin pan (though it worked out great) – it would be quicker just to use an 8″ pie pan and make one crust. I will definitely use that crust recipe again. After I cooked all the liquid out of the pineapple filling, I put the pineapple in a colander and there was still a little reserve juice – I added this to the marinade. I think sprinkling a little coconut on the pie meringue would have added a nice touch. I used Splenda in the meringues and it worked great. I also used Splenda in the pie crust and the blackberry limeade but added a little more than the amount of sugar called for in the limeade. I also made a 3-egg meringue, adjusting the rest of the ingredients accordingly. Joe and I both loved this special limemade and it is a keeper recipe. I didn’t have an “offset” spatual and a table knife worked fine. I did use canola oil spray on my muffin pan before putting in the crusts. I had never cooked with boneless chicken thighs before and thought I would hate them because I have never liked thighs, but they roll out just like boneless breasts and were not as dry. The lime chipolte marinade had just a hint of spice and was really good and would also be good for salmon. I also marinaded a thick slice of vidalia onion and cooked it with the chicken – it is pictured on the plate beside the chicken. For plating, I set the chicken on fresh spinach leaves and added a little parsley from my herb garden. All in all, the meal was a big hit with Joe and definitely a success.
CHIPOTLE-LIME GRILLED CHICKEN
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 TBSP chipotle Tabasco
3/4 tsp salt
6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs (2 1/2 lb total)
2 tsp mild honey
- Stir together lime juice, oil, Tabasco, and salt in a liquid-measuring cup.
- Put chicken in a large sealable bag and add 1/3 cup of the marinade.
- Seal bag, forcing out excess air, and marinade chicken at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
- Stir honey into remaining marinade until dissolved to make sauce.
- Preheat gas grill to moderate heat (alternate indoor method follows recipe).
- Grill chicken (discarding marinade in bag) on lightly oiled grilled rack, with grill lid closed.
- Turn chicken over occasionally and move it to avoid flare-ups if necessary, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total.
- Brush both sides of chicken with some of reserved sauce, then continue to grill, turning over once; until lightly browned, about one minute more.
- Serve chicken drizzled with remaining sauce.
Note 1: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, chicken can be cooked in batches in a hot, lightly oiled, well-seasoned large ridged grill pan over moderate heat, about 15 minutes (before brushing with sauce).
Note 2: If using a charcoal grill, cook chicken uncovered.
Gourmet cannot top our favorite healthy salad that I will have with this meal: baby spinach mixed with sliced almonds and cranberries mixed with a light olive oil or your favorite vinegarette.
PINEAPPLE MACADAMIA NUT MERINGUE PIES
3/4 cup salted macadamia nuts (about 3 oz)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TBSP sugar (or Splenda)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups diced (1/4 inch) cored peeled fresh pineapple (labeled “extra sweet”)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
Special Equipment: 12 (2- to 2 1/2-inch) metal pie plates or a mini-muffin pan with 12 (1/8 cup) cups; an offset metal spatula. (I am going to have to adapt and use regular muffin pans and clueless as to what an “offset” metal spatula is so will find something that will work).
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Toast nuts in one layer in a shallow baking pan in oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Cool completely in pan on a rack.
- Coarsely chop 1/4 cup nuts and set aside.
- Pulse flour, sugar, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup nuts in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped, then add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add egg and process until dough begins to come together into a ball but is still crumbly.
- Form dough into a ball with your hands.
- Press about one TBSP dough evenly over bottom and up side of each pie plate.
- Chill shells until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Lightly prick bottoms and sides of chilled pie shells all over with a fork.
- Bake until edges are golden and bottoms are pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Cool completely in pans on racks.
- Loosen edges of shells carefully with offset spatula, then carefully remove shells from pans and transfer to a shallow baking pan.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts into bottoms of shells. Leave oven on.
- Simmer butter, pineapple, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat.
- Stir occasionally, until most of liquid is evaporated and pineapple is slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Cool slightly, then spoon a heaping TBSP of filling into each shell (adjust amount for whatever dish you are using).
Make Meringue Topping:
- Beat whites with cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until they just hold soft peaks.
- Gradually beat in sugar and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks.
- Spoon about 2 TBSP meringue over filling of each pie, covering filling completely and sealing meringue to pastry.
- Draw meringue up into small peaks and bake until tops are golden in spots, about 5 minutes.
- Cool pies on racks, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note 1: Unbaked pie shells can be chilled, covered, up to one day.
Note 2: Pie shells can be baked 3 days ahead and kept, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note 3: Pies can be baked 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
Note 4: The egg whites in the meringue will not be fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area.
You can substitute liquid pasteurized egg whites. (I felt mine were fully cooked – 5 to 7 minutes).
BLACKBERRY LIMEMADE (Makes 12 drinks – I will half this recipe)
2 cups fresh lime juice (from 8 to 12 limes)
1 2/3 cups superfine granulated sugar (or Splenda)
1 qt cold water
2 TBSP blackberry syrup, store-bought or homemade (see notes below)
Thin lime slices for garnish
- Stir together all ingredients in a pitcher until sugar is dissolved and serve over ice
Note 1: To make blackberry syrup, heat 1/4 cup blackberry jam with 1 TBSP water in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until jam is dissolved. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into a small bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, one week.