Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chili Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Pesto

I have to admit when I first saw this recipe I thought that the flavor combos would not work. Surprisingly, the cilantro pesto goes very well with the sweet-chili chicken skewers. You may be one of those few people that don’t like cilantro. If this is you, you can substitute the cilantro with basil leaves or make the pesto entirely with flat leaf parsley. The chicken is so good by itself, though, that the pesto is really optional.

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 to 6 skewers)

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup roasted and unsalted peanuts (I used cashews because I had them available)
  • The juice of 4 limes
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled (I used 2)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 package chicken tenders, about 1 to 1-1/4 lb.
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • Bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes
Pre-heat your grill to medium-high for 15 minutes. In the meantime...

FOR THE PESTO: In a food processor add the cilantro, parsley, peanuts, lime juice, vinegar and garlic. Process until mixture is minced. Add the 1/2 olive oil and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve it in a bowl and set aside.

FOR THE CHICKEN: Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and cumin. Mix with your fingers to break up any lumps. Sprinkle each side of chicken tenders with the brown sugar-chili mixture.

Thread about 3 tenders per skewer. Grill them (direct-grill method) for about 6 to 7 minutes per side. Grill until the thickest part of one tender is no longer pink.

Serve immediately with a side of cilantro pesto for dipping. Mashed spicy sweet-potatoes will also compliment this dish.

1 comment:

kiko said...

Hi from Portugal!
Your blog is awesome.. that food must be great!
Visit me at Banana Podre!
Nice to meet you and your blog!