Our Favorite Grilled Chicken

Last week I promised you some recipes for marinated, grilled chicken. This is probably one of the most frequent items on our dinner menu. Chicken is so versatile! I think that if I had to, I could come up with 365 ways to cook it!

I’m not offering 365 chicken recipes (hmmm, maybe I should write a cookbook?), but here are three of our favorites. If I ever feed you dinner, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating one of these!

Note: I’ve gotten very frustrated with the chicken that’s now sold in the market. The breasts are so huge! We find that not only are those very thick chicken breasts far too large for a single serving, but they have a mushy consistency that we find repulsive. I’m constantly hunting for smaller pieces, but if I have to use the huge ones, I find that tenderizing them with a mallet helps. Simply put the meat in a thick zipper baggy and pound it until it’s all about an inch thick. Giving the meat a uniform thickness helps it cook more evenly, too.

Now, on to the recipes. This first one I posted back in 2009, but it bears repeating. Corinne Chan was my college roommate and best friend. She taught me to make this, and I am forever grateful!

Corinne’s Hoisin Chicken

  • Chicken pieces (with skin and/or bones, or without, whichever you prefer)
  • ½ jar hoisin sauce (I prefer Koon Chun brand, with the blue and yellow label)
  • ¼ C catsup
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry (Corinne’s dad used whisky)

Combine hoisin sauce, catsup, and sherry. Slather chicken thoroughly. Put it into a large plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to two days, turning occasionally to make sure the meat all comes in contact with the mixture.

Grill chicken, using indirect heat, until done (follow the directions that came with the grill). An instant-read meat thermometer is helpful to make sure the meat is cooked but not overdone.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you can bake the chicken at 350° F for 45 min (boneless chicken breasts) to an hour (bone-in pieces). Adding ½ tsp. smoke flavoring to the marinade helps give indoor chicken some outdoor flavor.

Southwestern Lime Chicken with Ancho Chili Sauce

Mexican lime chicken on plateI adapted from a recipe from Golden Annie’s Mesquite Bar and Grill, in Frisco, CO, that appeared in the July 1998 issue of Bon Appétit. This is my first choice for feeding company, typically accompanied by black beans (with lime and cilantro) and a zucchini/corn medley.

  • 1/2 C fresh lime juice
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 C oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 8 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • Chili sauce (see below)

Combine first 9 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Marinate chicken overnight, turning occasionally. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove chicken breasts from marinade. Grill chicken until just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Place 1 cheese slice atop each chicken breast half; cover barbecue and cook until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to plates. Serve with Chili Sauce.

Chili Sauce (This makes about 1-1/4 cups, which may be too much.)

  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. (packed) brown sugar (or substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • Approx. 3 Tbsp. Water
  • Salt & pepper

Whisk together ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared three days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using, adding water by tablespoonfuls and stirring if very thick.)

Greek Chicken Pitas with Tzaziki Sauce

Adapted from a recipe by Nagi|RecipeTin Eats. Be sure to check out the rest of the recipes on this excellent site. And by the way, this marinade is amazing!

  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken
  • 3 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • 3 cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 c . Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 – 6 pitas or other flatbreads

Marinade:

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (~ 3 tsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar (white or red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Black pepper

Tzatziki

  • 2 cucumbers (to make about 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated cucumber after squeezing out juice)
  • 1-1/4 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vinegar (white or red wine, or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp.extra virgin olive oil (or more if you want it richer)
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a zippered bag. Add the chicken and marinate between 12 and 24 hours. Drain, discarding marinade. Grill chicken (best), broil, or saute in a skillet on the stove in a little oil. Let rest 30 minutes, then cut into slices.

Tzatziki: Grate the cucumbers, then wrap in cheesecloth or a tea towel and squeeze to remove any extra liquid. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, then let rest at least 20 minutes so that the flavors combine.

Warm the pitas. (Don’t open them up; rather treat them like tortillas and fold them in half around the filling.)

To serve, place the diced tomatoes and cucumbers, onion, and parsley down the middle of each pita, then top with chicken. Spoon tzatziki sauce over everything, and sprinkle with feta. Fold over and eat.

NOTE: You can also use the marinade to make Greek grilled chicken, perhaps served with rice pilaf and green beans almondine.

 

 

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