Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken with a dipper...

Tonight's dinner, Chipotle Chicken Skewers With Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce, would make for a fine appetizer, but rather than having just a skewer or two, we loaded up our plates and figured it would be good enough for a main dish!

Think a sweet heat when it comes to these skewers, started out by letting strips of chicken breasts knoodle in a brazen marinade. With its molasses tones, brown sugar gave us the sweet, while a minced chipotle chile, along with a spoonful of its piquant adobo sauce, forced a smoky heat into the pool. Rounded out with chili powder, garlic powder and fresh cilantro, along with salt and fresh ground black pepper of course, you'll want to let the chicken hang out for at least a half hour, but if you plan ahead, a day in the refrigerator would be even better - I ended up tossing this together last night before going to bed to get it out of the way.

Before I even brought the chicken out, I gathered our cream, mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, a clove of garlic, cilantro and a couple scallions, which work together to create a tranquil dipping sauce. To give the ingredients time to dance and get to know each other, I let this hang out while I got my hands messy threading the chicken strips onto the skewers. You can also prepare this ahead of time if you like - I would have gotten it done last night, but apparently I forgot to add sour cream to the market list and had to run to the store this afternoon (sigh...)! I do suggest giving it a quick taste before you serve it - if it sits too long, the flavors may dull slightly. To perk it right back up, squirt in a juicy lime half to refreshen.

Grilling these would be a fine option, but we opted for the broiler tonight. Soak the skewers first if you like, but with the heating element just inches away, it is best to just cover the ends of the skewers with foil and be done with it. With the chicken soaking in a bit of the heat from the chipotle, pairing it with the citrus-y white elixir tames the spice with its bright, cooling nature. Adding the rich brown sugar into the marinade also does well to off-set the bite, but I was more attuned to the attractive lacquered finish it gave the moist broiled strips. Flavor-wise it was spot on, but where the real bonus points come in was the fun element of throwing the chicken onto skewers and making for an interactive dinner - who doesn't love to dunk?!