Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Friday Night Dinner Fancy BBQ Chicken

So we've taken to a new ritual in my family, everyone eats together on Friday nights, which is great since my sister and I both live somewhere other than home with my parents. Most of my recent posts have been about something I made for Friday night dinner but now I'm going to try and be more consistent in posting the Friday Night Dinner Specials. First on the list is one I made earlier, while it was still summer, straight from Bon Apetit (September 2009) is Art Smith's recipe for BBQ Chicken with homeade BBQ sauce and a delicious slaw.

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
Olive oil
Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped white onions
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chile
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water

2 cups thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 medium carrots, cut into thin matchstick-size strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted, plus additional for griddle

3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Vinegar Slaw

Special equipment: 2 cups wood chips (such as hickory, apple, or cherry), soaked in 2 cups water for 1 hour, then drained; 13x9x1-inch disposable aluminum foil baking pan preparation

For Brown Sugar and Coffee Barbecue Sauce:
1.Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2.Add onions, garlic, and jalapeño; sauté until onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
3.Add brown sugar, chili powder, molasses, cilantro, and cumin; stir until sugar dissolves.
4.Stir in crushed tomatoes with puree, broth, and coffee; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 4 cups, stirring often, about 35 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
**DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

For chicken:
1.Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Spread drained wood chips in disposable foil pan. Remove grill racks from barbecue. Place foil pan with wood chips directly atop hot coals (for charcoal barbecue) or over flames (for gas barbecue). Return grill rack to barbecue.
2.Brush chicken with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When wood chips begin to smoke, place chicken on grill rack above pan with wood chips. Cover grill and smoke chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 18 minutes.
3.Transfer to large bowl and cool slightly.
4.Shred chicken into bite-size strips; place in same bowl. Mix 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce into chicken.
**DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm chicken in barbecue sauce over medium-low heat before using, adding more barbecue sauce to moisten mixture, if needed.

For slaw:
1.Toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
2.Whisk oil, vinegar, and sugar to blend in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3.Add dressing to vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours, tossing occasionally. Toss to blend before using.

For hoecakes:
1.Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add 1 cup water and melted butter and whisk until well blended.
2.Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle.
3.Using back of spoon, immediately spread batter for each cake into oval shape about 4x21/2 inches; cook until bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn cakes over and cook until bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
4.Place hoecakes on baking sheet and transfer to oven to keep warm while making remaining cakes.
5.Place 2 hoecakes on each of 6 plates; sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese over each cake. Top each with warm chicken in barbecue sauce. Spoon Vinegar Slaw atop chicken and serve.

The entire dish was a big hit - especially the chicken, the smoky flavor from the wood chips was so good the family discussed making the chicken without sauce at some point!