It’s that season where I just slide open the patio door and turn up the grill. Even though the weather is trying to find its season. I really love smoked flavor, and have experimented with various ways throughout the years to replicate it, without a proper smoker. The other day at Home Depot, I just gave in and made Certain Someone purchase a Weber Smoker Box and bag of pecan wood. It will have to do until I convince him to get me the Big Green Egg, which I’m coveting after using at a clients home. I’m patient. The smoker box really is effective and proves you can get great flavor with a gas grill. It’s just about technique.
Here is a quick and easy idea for a twist on the usual standard dinner fare. I’m not a big fan of skinless boneless chicken breasts, but utilize them occasionally in cooking. I always have some puff pastry in the freezer left over from catering. This particular evening I had some frozen béchamel sauce I had leftover from making lasagna. As a chef I save as much I can in the freezer to repurpose later in another dish. “Waste not , want not” especially with food costs soaring. Some frozen broccoli, béchamel, chicken breasts, Dijon mustard, and Gouda make for an easy elegant stunning meal. I called these galettes which we normally associate with a free from sweet pastry. Why not savory? The chicken breast stays tender as it cooks up in the creamy sauce and puff pastry. Be sure to use a thermometer to check chickens doneness without compromising the presentation before serving. Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165-175 F . Here is quick link for Béchamel , a mother sauce that should be in your repertoire.
- Chicken breasts
- Thawed frozen Puff pastry sheets to equal amount of chicken pieces
- 2 cups Béchamel sauce ( see link in post)
- 1 cup grated Gouda
- 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 egg beaten for pastry wash
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare you béchamel. Add grated gouda and broccoli. Let sit for 20 min until a little thickened and cooler before assembly.
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper .
- Place a chicken breast atop a piece of puff pastry on the sheet pan.
- Add a few tablespoons of thickened cooled sauce and quickly wrap to seal. Brush with egg yolk.
- Reheat Béchamel with chicken stock.
- One galetttes are browned and chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165-175 F , remove from oven.
- Serve hot with more sauce ladled over the pastry.
In other news this has been an amazing week as I go through some career transformations and validations. An illustration I did a while ago and forgot about for my former employers contest, was picked up and reposted on the Cosmetic Brands IG page! For me this is a huge validation of my creative talents and skills .
What is Honey Basted Jerk Chicken you may ask? I confess I took culinary artistic license with traditional Jerk chicken . Rather than BBQ outside I wanted an easy indoor version of the Spicy Jamaican Favorite. The method of cooking Jerk style is essentially making a dry or wet rub of all spice, cloves, garlic, hot peppers(scotch bonnet ) and other spices that was originally developed as a smoking method of preservation among the natives of the Caribbean Islands.Jerk anything has evolved into a world wide favorite with commercial blends readily available. Rather than buy a commercial Jerk blend , I wanted to make my own Jerk rub as I had a canister of allspice sitting on my pantry shelf.I saw a television spot on a local Jerk restaurant and became fascinated watching how they make their own Jerk rub. I figured I could make my own.I took some liberty and switched out some ingredients for what I had. For instance, I used my Sambal, in place of Scotch Bonnet Peppers for the heat. This recipe is by no means authentic, but makes a very tasty overnight marinade for chicken.To neutralize the heat, I basted my boneless chicken thighs with honey as they cooked on the indoor grill pan. The result was a a great chicken dish in which Certain Someone devoured. Bear in my nothing beats Jerk Chicken cooked over coals and fire, but this recipe will do in a pinch.
You will need a good blender or food processor for this. You can alter and adjust ingredient proportions to taste. Less heat, more sweet, etc.
Honey Basted Jerk Chicken
8 Boneless Chicken thighs or breasts
2 Tablespoons of whole All Spice Berries
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup water
1 inch fresh ginger peeled
2 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or grape seed oil
1 bunch scallion chopped
1 onion chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon Sambal or 2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers
1/2 cup honey
In a mixer of food processor combine all the Marinade ingredients and puree thoroughly.Pour marinade over chicken pieces and cover. Refrigerate over night .
Remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.
Make sure kitchen is well ventilated.
Prepare an indoor grill pan and heat. Brush grill pan with a little vegetable oil and add chicken which has been removed piece by piece from the marinade.
Sear chicken on each side for a few minutes each to make grill marks. Continue to grill chicken until almost done. During the last few minutes of cooking brush the chicken pieces with honey on both sides . Remove from heat .