May 16, 2014
Hey barbecue fans! I'm delighted to be back for my fifth year of sharing outdoor cooking tips and recipes on The World Today with Jon McComb on Vancouver's CKNW radio.
Today's topic: chicken. Specifically, delicious British Columbia chicken. For the past few weeks I've been working with the BC Chicken Farmers Association to support a fun and informative social media campaign, Chicken Squad: The Real Chicken Farmers of BC. If you haven't seen the video trailer, watch it and all the episodes of the web series here.
The public awareness campaign is a lot of fun, but the message is serious: chicken raised in BC has been free of steroids and hormones for 50 years, despite the common perception that the long-banned substances are used today. If you eat BC chicken you know it's been fed well and humanely raised by farmers who care.
If you know me, you know I LOVE chicken. I developed a new recipe for the big Chicken Squad movie trailer premiere a couple of weeks ago, and I'm sharing it here, along with another of my favourite chicken recipes. Enjoy...and get out there and get grilling!
Jerusalem Sliders with Sour Cream and Sumac Sauce
This is my adaptation for the grill of a superb recipe from the superb cookbook Jerusalem, by famed restaurateurs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. My thanks to blogger Marc Smith for documenting the Chicken Squad event and sharing his photo.
For the burgers:
1 pound (300g) ground
1 large zucchini, coarsley grated (scant 2 cups/200g)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large free-range egg
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ to 1 cup dry bread crumbs
Soft fresh slider buns
For the Sour Cream & Sumac
Scant 1/2 cup (100g) sour cream
Scant 2/3 cup (150g) Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For garnish: thin slices of fresh tomato
Prepare the sour cream sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and store in your refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Place the grated zucchini in a clean dry dish towel and wrap it tightly, twisting the towel to squeeze as much of the moisture out of the zucchini as possible. Place the zucchini and rest of the slider ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix everything together until it’s the right consistency for making burgers. Add extra bread crumbs if it’s too wet to handle.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Starting with a portion about the size of a mandarin orange, form the slider patties, dipping your hands in a bowl of cold water to help keep the mixture from sticking. Place the patties onto the cookie sheet and transfer to your freezer for about an hour to firm up the meat.
Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking. Thoroughly scrape the cooking grate. Remove the burger patties from the freezer. Paint a light coating of olive oil on one side of the patties and place them, oiled side down, on the grill. Let the burgers cook on one side until they are firm and they release easily from the cooking grate, then turn them. (If you turn them too early, they’ll stick you’ll leave a lot of meat on the grill.)
Cook the burgers to an internal temperature of 160F. Serve them immediately on slider buns with a generous dollop of the sauce, topped with tomato slices.
Grilled Achiote Chicken Breasts with Mixed Green Salad
Makes 4–6 servings
Achiote is a rust-colored paste made from annatto seeds that is a common ingredient in Mexican cooking. You can find it in Latin grocery stores and gourmet specialty food stores. It adds an unusual and distinctive flavour and wonderful color to grilled food, and is fantastic with chicken and shrimp.
six 5-oz | 150 g boneless skinless chicken breasts
For the marinade:
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp | 2 mL kosher salt
1.75 oz | 50 g achiote paste (half of a standard-sized brick of paste)
1 tsp | 5 mL ground cumin
1 tsp | 5 mL dried oregano leaves
½ tsp | 2 mL granulated onion
1 Tbsp | 15 mL honey
½ cup | 125 mL freshly squeezed orange juice
For the greens:
3 Tbsp | 45 mL orange-infused olive oil (available at most supermarkets)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL rice vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tsp | 5 mL Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 5 oz | 150 g bag of mixed salad greens
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Sprinkle the salt on top of the chopped garlic and mash it into a fine paste with the back of a fork. Place the mashed garlic in a bowl and add the achiote paste, cumin, oregano, and granulated onion. Wet the ingredients with a splash of the orange juice and mash everything together, making a smooth paste. Add the rest of the orange juice and mix thoroughly. Place the chicken breasts in the bowl and toss them to coat them with the marinade. Marinate the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator, for 2 hours or overnight, turning it once or twice to keep it coated.
Make the vinaigrette by combining the oil, vinegar, mustard, and chopped shallots in a salad bowl and whisking the ingredients together. Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper and set it aside.
Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and grill them for about 4–5 minutes, turning them every couple of minutes, until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 160˚F | 71˚C at the thickest part of the breast. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest, tented in foil, for five minutes.
While the chicken is resting, toss the mixed greens, avocado, and tomatoes with the vinaigrette and place a pile of the salad on each serving plate. Slice the chicken into bite-sized chunks and arrange the chicken on top of the greens. Garnish the dish with chopped cilantro and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.