Frozen chicken breasts (Recipe: chicken with mango barbecue sauce)
Adapted, in part, from an archived post, with new recipe, photos and links.
Today I'm planning to bare my breasts.
Fear not, my breasts are absolutely G-rated, and they are an essential part of my culinary arsenal. More than any other food product, boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts are the save-my-bacon ingredient I turn to week in and week out, whether I need to create a meal in a hurry or I'm cooking for a crowd.
Whenever I can, I buy "happy meat" from one of our local Rhode Island farms, but I always keep a bag of Empire kosher chicken breasts in the freezer. Based in Pennsylvania, Empire buys chickens from farms within an hour's drive of its plant, and processes them according to Jewish dietary laws.
What kosher means for the consumer is a guarantee of a high-quality chicken grown and slaughtered under humane conditions. What it means for the cook is amazing flavor. As part of the koshering process, Empire chickens are salted to draw out the blood, and then rinsed and dried. The salting results in a chicken breast that has great taste and is, in effect, pre-brined.
Empire chicken comes in bags of 5-6 well-trimmed breast halves, available at Costco. You can find it also at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and several supermarket chains.
There are at least 1,001 ways to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts: stuffed with green chiles and cheese, grilled with lemon and basil, stir fried with asparagus and cashews, sauteed in paillards, or poached for chicken salad.
What's your favorite way to bare your (chicken) breasts?
Chicken with mango barbecue sauce
Sweet and spicy, to your taste, this sauce would work well on beef or pork, too. And the cold cooked chicken is perfect for a picnic, or chopped up in a curried chicken salad. Very slightly adapted from The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger. Serves 8.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from half of a lime)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 medium ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
2-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded between 2 sheets of waxed paper to 1/2-inch thickness
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper and allspice, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, lime juice and tomato sauce, and cook for one minute more. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the mango and jalapeños, and process until smooth.
Put two cups of the sauce into a large sealable (ziploc) bag with the chicken, and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
When you're ready to cook, heat a grill or stovetop grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the bag, discarding marinade. Grill the chicken just until cooked all the way through, approximately 4 minutes per side. Serve at room temperature, with the reserved sauce on the side. Or refrigerate and serve cold.