Wood-barbecued chilli chicken with cumin & pineapple caramel

Wood-barbecued chilli chicken with cumin & pineapple caramel

By
From
Cantina
Serves
6
Photographer
Chris Middleton

Grilling chicken can be tricky, as the delicate breast meat can overcook and easily become dry. Choose boneless chicken thighs as they marinate well and can be precooked in fragrant stock, or baked, before finishing on the grill. I like to dress them with a sweet-and-sour tamarind and pineapple glaze. You could also serve this chicken with green mole sauce.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg free-range boneless chicken thighs
Latin spice rub
olive oil

Pickled pineapple

Quantity Ingredient
1 small ripe pineapple
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
Mexican-style pickles, pickle solution only, hot

Cumin & pineapple caramel

Quantity Ingredient
170ml sherry vinegar
125g brown sugar
350ml pineapple juice
150ml Adobo sauce
75g pineapple flesh, diced
60g tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 serrano chilli, seeded and finely chopped, to taste

Garnish

Quantity Ingredient
Tomatillo verde
toasted sesame seeds, to sprinkle
3 large handfuls watercress or upland cress, perfect leaves picked

Method

  1. Rub the chicken with the spice rub to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. To prepare the pickled pineapple, peel, quarter and core the pineapple. Very thinly slice and place in a medium bowl with the jalapeño. Cover with hot pickling liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 120°C.
  4. Preheat a wood-fired or coal barbecue until the coals have a thin coating of grey ash. Add presoaked aromatic wood such as hickory, ironbark, oak or mallee oak. Alternatively, if using a gas barbecue soak smaller wood chips and place them in a smoking box on your barbecue.
  5. Brush the chicken with olive oil and grill lightly for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile to prepare the pineapple caramel, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and simmer until reduced to a syrup. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chilli, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the pineapple has softened. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return to the pan. Add as much of the chilli as you like and simmer over low heat, until reduced to a glaze.
  7. To serve, return the chicken to the grill and cook until crisp and evenly charred. Transfer to a tray and generously brush with the pineapple caramel.
  8. Drain the pickled pineapple and place in a serving bowl.
  9. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter, dress with some of the remaining pineapple caramel and tomatillo verde, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with cress. Serve with the remaining sauce and the pickled pineapple on the side.
Tags:
Latin
Mexican
Mexico
Cantina
Paul Wilson
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