Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cherry Chipotle Chicken with Yellow Rice and Cilantro Pesto

Cherry Chipotle Chicken with Yellow Rice and Cilantro Pesto
(for two)

This meal is comprised of tender grilled chicken cutlets coated in a sweet & spicy cherry chipotle barbecue sauce over savory yellow rice and finished with a spoonful of refreshing cilantro pesto. If you like Latin flavors, you’re sure to love this dish!


Cherry Chipotle Chicken:

-2 chicken cutlets
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted & halved (about 20 cherries)
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon agave nectar (or honey)
- ¼ teaspoon salt

Yellow Rice:

-1 cup white rice or brown-jasmine rice
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 small onion
- 1 large garlic clove (minced or pressed)
- Approx. ½ tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt & ground black pepper to taste

Cilantro Pesto:

-1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
- Generous handful of cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
- Juice of ½ lemon or lime

To pit the cherries: cut each cherry in half lengthwise and pull apart.

Slide your thumb underneath the base of the pit and pull up to release it from the fruit.

Pour the pitted/halved cherries into a food processor. Add 1-2 chipotle peppers (depending upon your desired level of spiciness), 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the can, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon agave nectar.

Process until the barbecue sauce is smooth and a rich, dark red color.

Transfer the barbecue sauce from the food processor to a measuring cup. You should have about 2/3 cup of sauce.
Roll down the sides of a large zip top bag and pour about 1/3 cup of the sauce into the bottom of it. Set aside the other half of the sauce for later use.

Place the chicken cutlets into the bag with the sauce and seal the bag (squeezing out most of the air).

Gently massage the sauce into the meat with your fingers until the cutlets are well coated. Marinate the chicken as long as you like but at least 15 minutes.

Heat the ½ tablespoon of coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until translucent.
Add the garlic, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Pour the water into the saucepan and bring to a boil.

When it begins to boil, add the rice, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

As the rice is cooking, grill the chicken (discarding the marinade in the bag) until it has sear marks on both sides and is firm (not spongy) to the touch (about 4-5 minutes per side). When it has finished cooking, allow it to rest (covered with foil) for several minutes on a plate.

To make the cilantro pesto: first grind the almonds in a food processor for about 5-10 seconds. Then add the cilantro, melted coconut oil and lemon juice. Process until smooth; if necessary, add a little more oil to help you reach your desired texture. If you like, finish this pesto in a mortar & pestle – it gives it a wonderful finished consistency.

Just before serving, brush both sides of each chicken cutlet with some of the reserved barbecue sauce.

To serve: Make a bed of yellow rice on each plate, place a chicken breast on top of each rice bed, and top with cilantro pesto. Drizzle some of the reserved barbecue sauce onto each plate as desired.

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