This is definitely a Throwback Thursday recipe. I promise I didn’t plan it on purpose. What’s true is that I’ve been thinking about writing about it for ages. I never did until now because the photo isn’t good at all. It almost went in my not-to-publish file, but I’ve changed my mind. This recipe turned out well so why not?
It goes back to the first month or so in my kitchen here in Malta, when I was barely doing any serious cooking. We moved back in the middle of the summer months, when being in the kitchen, I think, is totally unbearable. The heat is just too much for me, so I either cook late in the evening or very early in the morning, although those two options don’t always work for me either. We end up eating loads of salads and the likes instead, and there’s no need to say that baking stops almost to a complete halt.
This easy chicken recipe was made on such an evening. I don’t think there was much planning and made it on a whim with whatever I had to hand at the time. I found it in one of the very first recipe books we ever bought. It is a bit dated now, or so it seems to me, but it still remains one of my favourites. The main reason is that the recipes in there are just ace. There’s something nostalgic about going through old cookbooks, and the ones I got with me from Michigan are something else. (Is a book published in 1999 really old? I wonder.)
Grilled chicken breasts are tricky in that they tend to dry up so quickly. I hate that as much as eating a piece of steak well done. I can’t tell you if the level is more or less; it’s kind of a toss-up. Usually I prefer the dark meat, and I would rather throw a whole bird in the oven, so that people can pick and choose whatever they prefer. However here the white meat works well if you treat it with a little attention and you already might know how much I rely on recipes like this when I have no time to faff about.
The key here is to make sure that the pan is very hot before you start grilling. I use my trusty cast iron one, but a non-stick frying pan will do if you don’t own a grill pan. However if you’re thinking about taking grilling seriously, I would advise getting one. I assure you it’s a good investment.
For the meat:
- 2 whole chicken breasts, preferably organic
For the marinade:
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 3 tablespoons clear runny honey
- juice from ½ a lime
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons rapeseed oil
- 2 teaspoons regular olive oil
For the sauce:
- 250ml plain yoghurt
- zest from ½ a lime
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and coat them well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge, preferably overnight. If you’re cooking this on the same day give it a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour. Remember that the more you leave it to marinate, the more tender and moist the meat will be.
Heat up a grill pan. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and grill them for around 10 to 15 minutes per side, basting it frequently with the marinade to avoid ending up with any dry meat. Chicken breasts are notorious for that, so keep an eye on it. The chicken will be cooked when the juices run clear. I always cut a little into the thickest part of the meat with a sharp knife, just to be totally sure.
Meanwhile mix the yoghurt, lime zest and dried mint in a small bowl for the sauce, and serve it with the chicken.
Serve with steamed potatoes and a green salad, or any other side of your choice. Enjoy.
(Recipe adapted from What’s Cooking – Chicken by Tom Bridge, Thunder Bay Press, 1999.)
What we were up to on C&T…
One year ago: Porridge with Peaches and Crushed Raspberries
Two years ago: Churros
Three years ago: Apple and Walnut Cake
Four years ago: Stuffed Vegetables
Five years ago: Apricot and Date Loaf