Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Chicken?

Yes grasshoppers, Joe has an endless variety of chicken dishes crammed into his overworked brain, but he gets so little chance to cook them because his wife remembers vomiting after eating chicken when she was 3 years old. This apparently was enough to permanently swear her off the poor bird. God! Does nothing get a second chance with her? Fortunately, she isn't as strict with me or else I would be long gone. Of course, I've never made her vomit. Anyway, this was my Memorial Day dinner which I ate alone because the lady of the house was off caring for her little chickens  sons and no one else wanted to eat with poor me. Have I mentioned that I love barbecue? If I were still living in Brooklyn, I would by now have definitely broken out the grill. Confined as I am to my apartment in Queens however, I was forced to resort to alternative means. By barbecue, I of course mean barbecued chicken. If I were craving any other, I would go to the city where I can obtain barbecued brisket slow cooked for 16 hours over coals, which IMO is the only way to eat it. (Drool) So, if it's barbecued chicken you want follow this recipe.

Barbecued Chicken with baked beans and corn on the cob.

The most labor intensive part of this recipe is the barbecue sauce which can be made days ahead (it will keep for a couple of weeks refrigerated) if you think of it. Otherwise, you'll need one to three hours depending on how much you make. I also have to apologize because I don't measure.You learn as you cook to add ingredients depending on which flavors you want to emphasize. My Italian Grandma instincts tell me not to use equal amounts. So begin by sweating some onions in the pan. After they are soft, add the main ingredient, tomatoes. I used about half a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes with about half of a small onion. After braking up the tomatoes, I added a little ketchup to the pot and a few glugs of apple cider vinegar. Start with adding a little vinegar and taste the sauce. If you get a very weak hint of vinegar, add a little more. Then add some dark brown sugar. Think here, you want to balance the vinegar and make it like a sweet and sour taste. I would add about as much sugar as vinegar. Now add a little molasses. Strong taste so go easy. One tablespoon or two at the most. Next, about equal amounts of paprika and chili powder- just a few shakes. I also like a very small amount of a product called "liquid smoke". If you like a smoky taste, try it but not too much. Finish it with some orange, tangerine or apple juice and salt and pepper. Does it have a nice round taste? Nothing too strongly emphasized? Then, it's right. Bring it to a boil, turn it down to a slow simmer and let it be for one to two hours. It will reduce and thicken. I brush this sauce on my cooked chicken and use it on hamburgers, pork chops, in baked beans, or anything I want to jazz up.

OK, now for the chicken. I use a stove top grill pan from Anolon for all my indoor grilling. I heat it on medium for about 10 minutes and use it for all my grilling and for making paninis (I have a heavy  cast iron top which I got somewhere else which fits into the 8" square grill pan for the paninis) 

Earlier in the day, I took my chicken (two boneless and skinless thighs) and put a dry rub on them after opening them up and pounding them a little. The dry rub consisted  (from small to bigger amounts) of a pinch or two of oregano, a little garlic powder, cayenne pepper,brown sugar, salt cumin, chili powder and paprika. I rubbed  this on the chicken, covered it and let it sit refrigerated for 2 hours till I started to heat my pan.After my pan got hot, I brushed it with a little olive oil and cooked the chicken for about 4 -5 minutes on a side.After I turned the chicken, I brushed it with some barbecue sauce. The corn was boiled for 5 minutes in salted water (Yeah, I buttered it!) and the beans were a can of B&M baked beans with bacon and onions!

Tomato Update:

Here they are. They look bigger than when I started, but they haven't taken off yet. This is the first time I am growing them in  containers and the first time I'm using this variety. I have sprayed them (twice) with Spray-N-Grow which is a miracle "vitamin" for all plants. I will keep you updated on their progress. One thing I'm uncertain about is when and how much I should water. The pots seem to retain a lot of water, so I am hesitant to water them too much.


  1. I have chicken breasts awaiting inspiration for dinner tonight. Inspiration just whacked me over the head. Thank you :)

    Aside: this weekend I discovered the "Chipotle BBQ wings" at Kitchenette (the one on Amst. and 123rd, as opposed to the one on Chambers). While I thought they were much more along the lines of honey BBQ rather than chipotle, they were addictive and delicious.

  2. I'm not a "wing guy" cause I don't hang out in bars anymore and 123rd Street is practically upstate to me. If you want great barbecue, try "Rub" on W 23rd Street, Their "burnt end dinner" is the stuff of poetry.

  3. I am so glad that the corn is in its peak season here as there is nothing better with dinner than a sweet ear of corn. Your dinner has me craving a bit of everything on the plate.
    Good luck with your tomatoes! Here in CA, they seem to thrive on loads of sun and less water but I am not sure what the weather is like where you are. Are you able to plan them in the ground?

  4. Another superb dinner Joe! Sounds like the perfect summer meal. The last two years the kids and I have made homemade bbq sauce for Father's day. It has become a fun tradition for us. I do use a different recipe every year. You would be proud of my non-recipe (CSA)cooking lately. :) I don't know much about growing tomatoes in pots. I've only grown mesclun and herbs in pots. I think you're right not to over water them though and make sure they get plenty of sun. They look like they are on their way!