Marcus Samuelsson’s Chipotle Chicken

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a habit of doing some kind of reading just before I go to bed. No matter where I am, whether it’s been at home, in a hotel while traveling, at my dorm room and apartment when I was in college, or even visiting at another person’s house, I always have a book that I carry with me and place on a night stand just beside the bed within arms reach that I read before I go to sleep. Besides the fact that I think it somewhat helps my body ‘wind down’ to sleep, I’ve always just really loved reading.

Now what exactly I read has shifted somewhat over the years. At first and for a while, I mainly stuck to fiction but as my interests have evolved, so has my reading preferences. For a while I was in a real historical non-fiction/biography kick, so I was reading those a lot.  But nowadays, my bedside reading mainly comprises of two things: cookbooks and food magazines.

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I’m serious you guys. That’s what I ‘read’ before I go to bed just about every night. I’m looking across from my bed right now and I can tell you exactly what’s there if you don’t believe me:

The Food Network Magazines from November 2014, December 2014, and January 2015 (they’re still there beacause I haven’t gotten around to cutting out the clippings of the recipes I want to try yet- but I will. Scout’s honor)

My recipe notebook for when I’m in the kitchen and recording a new recipe- it’s not very organized and it’s actually pretty beat up and stained with food from my haphazard kitchen adventures, but it does have a special place on my nightstand.

“Marcus Off Duty” by Marcus Samuelsson

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The third one has been a really particular favorite ever since I received it for a Christmas present from my older sister Ashley. I was just thrilled to get this book, guys. Number one, IT’S SIGNED by HIM (which literally made me scream when I opened it on Christmas Day, so not kidding) Number two, I’m a huge Marcus Samuelsson fan; aside from his MAD skills in the kitchen I really love his approach to reinventing comfort food as both sophisticated yet still approachable for ‘ordinary folk’ like me. Also, he’s one of the snappiest dressers I’ve ever seen, and rather easy on the eyes if you know what I mean *wink wink*

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The story of his rather extraordinary life is written in the wide diversity of his food, something that’s made very apparent in this latest cookbook of his. Ever since Christmas it’s stayed on my nightstand and not a day goes by when I don’t find myself coming back to skim through this book and pick something out that I really want to try out and make.

This recipe was the first one that I’ve gotten around to making because (of course) I’m always looking for new things to do with chicken. This may sound extreme for me to say, but it’s the truth so I’m gonna say it anyway: this is just about some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Seriously. The marinade has so much complexity of flavors and they really do hit all the right notes; first you get the acidity from the lime juice, then the sweet citrus of the orange and chili sauce, and finally the heat from the adobo creeps up on you from the back of your tongue just as after you swallow. I have no idea how he manages to do that in just one recipe but I nonetheless bow down to Marcus’ greatness.

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One bite of this dish really makes you realize that this is somebody who not only knows how to cook, but also really understands the way the tongue processes and ‘reads’ flavors so to speak. What’s even more crazy is that he can do that with boneless, skinless chicken breasts- which I’ve noticed most chefs turn their noses up at as boring and tasteless.

This recipe originally called for the meat to be placed on skewers and either broiled or grilled. I did that, but I forgot to let my skewers soak overnight and could only let them sit in water for about an hour- which apparently wasn’t long enough to keep them from being scorched. No way was I letting burned, blackened, ugly skewers ruin my photoshoot, so I just slid the chicken off for the camera and dressed it up with how I ate it after it was done; wrapped in a tortilla with rice on the rice. So friggin GOOD.

I’m late to the Fiesta Friday #54 party this week, but that’s okay. Thanks to Angie@TheNoviceGardener for hosting, and  Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook for co-hosting.

And HUGE thanks to Marcus for his cookbook, as well as this bomb.com chicken.


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Marcus Samuelsson's Chipotle Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

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Ingredients

For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo (or more to taste)’
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder

For the Chicken

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium red onions, cut through the root into sixths
  • 18 (6 inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh

Directions

1. Make the marinade: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if you need to.

2. Make the chicken: Put the chicken into 1-gallon zip-top bag, add 1/2 cup of the marinade and massage to coat all the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight). Reserve the rest of the marinade.

3. Preheat the broiler; if using a gas grill, preheat to medium.

4. While the grill or broiler is heating up, slide 1 piece of onion onto each skewer, followed by 3 pieces of chicken. Continue until you’ve filled all the skewers. Arrange the skewers in a single layer with salt and pepper and brush 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade.

5. Broil the chicken skewers, without turning them, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. If grilling, they’ll take 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro and basil.

6. Bring remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and serve with the skewers.

Chipotle Apple Butter Chicken

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Sometimes I’ll go through a phase where I become addicted to a certain type of food. Like really addicted. I’ll have to have it every day, so I’ll buy mass quantities at one time- you know, just to make sure I never have a craving that can’t be satisfied. Because that sucks and definitely gets under my skin (probably more than it should).

At one time, it was Yoplait Boston Creme Pie Yogurt mixed in with Honey Bunches of Oats Just Bunches. I HAD to have some as an after dinner ‘dessert’.

At another, it was an Archers Farm trail mix of cashews, almonds and dried cranberries.

For a while, I was hooked on Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagels, toasted and spread with butter.

Bananas and melted peanut butter on whole wheat toast was a REALLY big favorite.

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Yellow corn chips is still a big one- I’ve got three bags in the house right now. Honestly, I have to be careful- they’re waaaaay too easy for me to eat in large quantities. Same thing with animal crackers; right now they’re my go to work snack.

About two years I developed a huge love of eating fried eggs on toast and experimenting with different spreads to put on top. I loved the contrast of saltiness from the egg with the sweetness of different jam spreads. One day I was in the grocery store looking in the jam aisle for something a little bit different to try and I noticed a jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter. I’d never heard of apple butter before, much less what it tasted like. But I was in the experimenting kind of mood, so I decided to give it a try.

From that first day, I was hooked. I LOVED apple butter. From then on, it was all I wanted to eat on my toast.

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But as we know, interests and passions begin to fade and shift after a while. Eventually,I got a little tired of having my regular fried eggs on toast smeared with apple butter. I moved onto my next obsession.

But I still had two unopened jumbo jars of apple butter in my pantry. For a long while, they just sat there. And sat there. And sat there.

I wasn’t gonna throw them away. I’m too cheap to do that. But I just…I didn’t know what to do with them. One of the jars eventually went to making some Apple Butter Bread- which I’ve posted on the blog a while ago. The other one still didn’t get used for a few months.

Recently, I bought a family pack of chicken breasts and had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just decided that I would look in the pantry and pick out whatever I thought would be good in a dish. When I got home, the first things I came across were the lonely unused jar of apple butter, and a can of adobe chipotle chiles. And that gave me an idea. By itself, the apple butter would make the chicken way too sweet- but the addition of chipotle chiles and sauce- that just could work.

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I’ve never heard of an apple butter and chipotle barbecue sauce before- but after coming up with this here recipe, I’m of the strong opinion that it really should be come a ‘thing’.

Because it’s friggin marvelous stuff.

The marinade alone works really well, but the best part of this recipe is setting aside a sizable portion ahead of time so that when the chicken is done, you can have some sauce to dunk it into. I cut the chicken up into medium sized tenders, then baked them off in the oven on racks, but this would be an EXCELLENT  dish to make over a grill to give a really special charcoal flavor to compliment the flavor of the sauce.

I’m really happy with this one, guys. So you should go ahead and just try this.

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I’m beginning to think that I should just start calling this blog Cooking Chicken Is My Sport-because sometimes, it really does seem to me that all I do is throw a bunch of chicken recipes at you guys. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.

But the truth is, chicken’s just about the most inexpensive meat I can buy. Luckily, it’s also my preference of  protein nine times out of ten. So I have to keep experimenting with different recipes and ingredients just to make it stay interesting.

Sorry. I hope you won’t hold it against me too much.

I’m taking this chicken to this week’s Fiesta Friday #51, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted by  Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Juju @cookingwithauntjuju. Thanks ladies- appreciate ya 🙂

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Chipotle Apple Butter Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Jess@CookingisMySport

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Ingredients

  • 1 28 oz. jar of Apple Butter
  • 2 1/2 canned chipotle chilies, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp. of the sauce from the jar
  • 1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into tender-size strips
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Romaine hearts, optional

 Directions

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Divide 1/2 cup of marinade between two ziploc bags, and set aside the rest for later use.

2. Place half of the chicken tenders in one bag, and one half in the other. Seal bags and roll chicken around in marinade to make sure it is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight, or at least for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then place a baking rack on top. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray.

4. Remove chicken from marinade and place on top of baking rack. Bake chicken in the oven, about 30-35 minutes (or until chicken reaches an inner temp of 165°), basting with the remaining apple butter/chipotle sauce occasionally.

5. Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve inside of romaine hearts if desired.