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Barbecuing With Gwyneth

If you didn’t know, the latest issue of Bon Appetit ditched food for its cover shot in favor of a big picture of Gwyneth Paltrow.  A controversial move that has apparently ticked off many readers from what I’ve seen online.  Personally, I wasn’t all that surprised since I knew that BA had a new editor and was clearly looking to move in a different direction, but I can’t say I was exactly excited either.  I was curious though and happened to have all the ingredients on hand to try out one of her recipes, with some modifications of course.

The verdict.  Pretty tasty, but definitely not mind blowing.  I would definitely make this again, as it is perfect for summer patio dining and my husband loved it.

Grilled Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce Adapted from June 2011 Bon Appetit (Serves 3-4)

  • 2 peaches *peeled and chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 2 medium garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo (or she alternately recommends 1 teaspoon of soy sauce)
  • Chicken–Gwyneth used 4 boneless, skinless, organic breasts, but it was boneless, skinless thighs for us seasoned with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (My package of thighs turned out to be more of a bunch of thigh tenders in odd shapes, so this wasn’t the prettiest presentation…)
Combine the peaches, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic, and adobo sauce in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let this simmer for about ten minutes while stirring regularly.  Remove from heat.  Gwyneth pureed her sauce, but I decided to keep mine chunky. I lightly seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper, but it really didn’t need much.
Once the sauce has cooled, she suggests using half of it for marinating the chicken for 20 minutes at room temperature or for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.  I did mine for about 30 minutes in the fridge and then let it sit out for another 30 minutes at room temperature.  (If I made this again, I’d definitely make the sauce the night before to reduce my time in the kitchen the day of grilling.)
I grilled the chicken on medium-high heat, brushing with a bit of the sauce during cooking and then served a dollop of sauce over the chicken.
The sweetness of the peaches melded beautifully with the smokiness of the chipotle, so I don’t think the soy sauce alternate is in my future.
Thanks for recipe Gwyneth.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the new direction of Bon Appetit, but as a fellow home cook, I am not going to bash your culinary chops.  In fact, hey, I wouldn’t mind being on the cover of BA either!
*You can easily peel peaches by making a few cuts into the skin and blanching them in boiling water for 30-40 seconds.  Despite knowing this, I did a rough peeling job so I could snack on the fleshy, skin.

Spicing up Chicken with Harissa

There were chicken breasts in the fridge and the weather was dry, so doing grilled chicken for dinner seemed like a good idea.   While my first inclination was to just throw on some garlic and herbs, I decided I was looking for something a little different.  After rummaging through the pantry, I found a small can of harissa that I thought would be the cure for my boring chicken.  Harissa is a hot chili paste if you’re not familiar.  This is by no means an expertly perfected recipe, but it was easy and perhaps it will inspire you to try out some new flavors in the kitchen.

For the chicken, I simply went with the following:

Dry chicken breasts.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Spread harissa onto breasts.  I would use a teaspoon per piece as a guideline.  I used more of a heaping teaspoon each for pleasantly spicy chicken, but you can go either way depending on preference.  I cooked these on the grill, but these could be done on the stove or in the oven.

I smeared the harissa onto the chicken before starting the grill so that it would penetrate the chicken a bit.  In the meantime, I also started concocting a garnish for the meat.  This lemon cilantro relish provided great balance to the spiciness of the chicken.

Cilantro Lemon Relish (Enough for 4 chicken breasts)

    • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • Juice from one lemon
    • Pinch of Kosher Salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Place onions in bowl.  Pour lemon juice over onions and add salt and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add oil and cilantro and stir well. Let sit for at least ten minutes.  Use as garnish.

Roast Chicken Primer

Do you like to make roasted chicken?  If yes, then you need to check out this article from Sunset Magazine, The Perfect Roast Chicken.  (If you answered no, well why not?)

One of my favorite comfort food meals is roasted chicken and I’ve tried a variety of cooking methods and was delighted to read that their best performing technique happens to be the easiest.

Well, you really should read the article, but here’s a quick summary.  Roast your chicken at 425 degrees.  Don’t flip it during cooking.  Don’t fuss with changing the temperatures during roasting.  Don’t bother with basting. Breast up, backbone up, do whichever moves you.  Buy free-range because of your beliefs, but not if you’re looking for better flavor.

Apparently, you just need to buy a big chicken, stick with 425 and let it go.

I tried this for the chicken pictured…it wasn’t a “big” chicken as the article suggested, but I was happy with the results nonetheless!