November 1, 2012

Fall Recipe

I have a lot of favorite things in life, but my husband and food are way up there on the list. So naturally, it's the highlight of my day when Tim and I hang out in the kitchen together, cooking up something yummy. I have grown to really love cooking, but it’s mostly because I have such an awesome sous chef! Tim is great about helping me cook and making it a fun, quality-time experience. (If you are married, I highly suggest cooking TOGETHER! It's less stressful when you have a helper, and it's more fun!) 

There is one big problem with my cooking, though- I never measure things. And not because I'm some sort of Julia Child, but because measuring utensils require washing. And even though Tim and I also clean up dinner together, dirty dishes are my arch nemesis. Not measuring = no washing! But not measuring also = slim chances of identically reproducing a really delicious meal... Today, however is a special day because I have been working on an original recipe that actually has calculated ingredients! I’ve made and re-made this dish several times in the last year or so, and I think I have finally perfected the recipe. And seeing as I actually wrote it all down, I figured it was only fair for me to share. (I do realize that I'm not the first person to put pretzels on chicken- I won't take credit for that.) My test subject (aka: Tim) has sampled each variety, and this is his favorite. So, without further ado, here is my 

Smoky Pretzel Chicken with Savory Peanut Sauce.

-        2 lbs chicken tenders, trimmed and patted dry
-        2 cups pretzel twists (You’ll want to use the twists opposed to other varieties because they have the most        

         “outside” area. The dark outside of the pretzel is what contributes the best flavor. Weird, I know.)
-        2 Tbs olive oil

-        2 Tbs. olive or canola oil
-        2 Tbs. chipotle chili adobo sauce (Found at any grocery store in the hispanic aisle.)
-        2 Tbs. brown sugar

-        1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

Peanut Sauce
-        1 Tbs. olive or canola oil

-        1 Tbs. peanut butter
-        1 Tbs. brown sugar
-        2 Tbs. soy sauce
-        2 Tbs. chipotle chili adobo sauce


1)      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)      Clean and trim your chicken tenders until they’re nice and lean. Pound out any thick parts, pat dry, and set aside. 

I don't know why I took this picture.

3)      In a large ziplock bag, combine ingredients for the marinade. Squish the bag to mix it all together.

They spell "chipotle" wrong. Hehe!
Just a heads up about the chilies: they are SPICY! I can think of zero reasons why someone would need an entire can of these. But if you're not a spicy person (I am not) don't worry, we won't be using the actual peppers in this recipe, only the adobo sauce. It has much less of a spicy and more of a smoky flavor. Scoop out the adobo for the marinade and peanut sauce, then save the chilies to make yummy Mexican chili later in the week!

- Another side note: it was at this point in the night that I neglected to take any more photos... So hopefully the raw chicken and mini tin can will tide you over until you can see what it looks like for yourself. Ma bad! - 

4)      Add chicken tenders to the bag and let sit in the marinade for 30 minutes or so.

5)      Pour ½ cup of the pretzels into a food processor. Pulse until finely crushed (almost powdery).
6)      Pour the remaining pretzels into the food processor. Pulse to crush, but allow coarse pieces to remain. Shake the container a bit to mix the pretzels together then spread evenly onto a plate. (I add a little bit of kosher salt here because I’m a sodium fiend.)
7)      One by one, remove tenders from marinade and press into the pretzel crumbs. Get ‘em good an covered!
8)     Place tenders side-by-side in a 9x13 baking dish and baste or drizzle with a bit of olive oil.*
9)     Bake for 30 minutes.
10)   While tenders are baking, melt peanut butter and oil in a small saucepan over low heat. 
11)    Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Heat until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
12)   Serve warm as a dipping sauce for tenders.

Yields: 2 servings with leftovers

*You can achieve a similar effect by cooking the tenders in a medium hot skillet with 2-4 Tbs of olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side. I’ve tried it both ways, and I’ve decided that the oven-baked version is a little more flavorful.

We usually eat this meal with garlic roasted broccoli and some form of rice/orzo/cous cous. I hope you enjoy!!

Favorite chef-inducing jam: On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons
Melody's favorite cooking utensil: Silicon basting brush
Tim's favorite cooking utensil: Cleaver
Favorite place to eat: on the couch

1 comment:

  1. first of all... cous cous makes me laugh... and i'm ashamed to say i have NO IDEA what it is. Second of all, you should write a cookbook "Things you can make using only a silicon basting brush and a cleaver" by Melody Fritson.