Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Dinner

A tropical themed dinner just feels right when its mid-summer in Chicago.  So after scouring Pinterest for a few ideas, I  selected this Hawaiian grilled chicken and paired it with grilled pineapple and coconut rice.  The original chicken recipe is from fellow blogger "chef in training".  His recipe seemed to serve about 12 people (as it called for three pounds of boneless skinless chicken.)  I've made it a bit more manageable below and also included some info on preparing the sides.

Julian's Hawaiian Themed Dinner
I'm going to take the preparation just a bit out of order.  When doing this meal at home, you should make the marinade (bottom) and place the chicken to soak in it at least 8 hours in advance (morning of) or as long as 24 hours in advance.  The longer the better, particularly with chicken breasts.

Coconut Rice:  I use an automated rice maker whenever I'm making white rice, as I think it's the easiest way possible to get perfect rice every time.  As they say, you just 'set it and forget it'.  Whether you are making the coconut rice in a rice maker or on the stove top, you really just follow the same directions.  I replace the plain tap water I normally use to prepare the rice with coconut water with pulp.  You can get this in bottles or cans at the store, but do not confuse it with coconut milk which is creamy.  You are looking for the clear juice of a coconut that has small chunks of pulp in it.  It is for this reason I prefer the bottles, to ensure I'm getting just what I want.  One bottle of about 9-12 ounces will be sufficient to cook about one cup of raw white rice.

With the rice cooking (for about 45-60 minutes) it's now time to move onto the pineapple.

Fresh Grilled Pineapple:  I'm always amazed at how many people have never actually served a fresh pineapple.  They taste so much better than the canned version, raw or grilled!  While you can prepare them with a good sharp knife, this is another of those kitchen gadgets I would hate to be without.

I got mine at Williams-Sonoma as I wanted stainless steel, but you can find many versions of them.  They make the job of coring the pineapple very fast and easy.  When you pull the handle up out comes a stack of neatly cut pineapple.  I  just slice it straight down the side and you have a neat stack of pineapple rings.  It's then ready to grill or serve raw.  If grilling, simply brush a little olive oil on it and place it on a hot grill.  Turn once after about 3 minutes or until the pineapple is nicely marked.  Grill the other side and serve.

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken (makes 4, 4-ounce portions)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 green onions, finely sliced (separate tops for garnish)
1 clove garlic minced (or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 (5.5 oz) can coconut milk (more is fine if can is larger)

Trim chicken of any fat.  Using a fork, poke holes around all sides of the chicken.  Place the chicken in a large zippered plastic bag.

In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, water, brown sugar, onions, garlic, sesame oil, and coconut milk.   Pour marinade over chicken and marinate for at least 8 hours (morning of), or up to 24 hours.

When preparing for grilling, scrape and oil the grates, using a paper towel lightly dampened with canola oil.  Place the chicken on a moderately hot grill and cook until well marked on one side (about 5-7 minutes).  Turn and continue cooking until chicken is done (reaching 160F degrees internal temperature.)  Garnish with tops of green onions and serve with coconut rice, pineapple and green vegetable of your choice.

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