Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lemon Chicken with Shallots

Summer is well on its way and one of the joys of this season is ‘grilling’ (which, in my childhood, was known as ‘barbequing’). For suburbanites with grills as big as convertibles or urban sophisticates with terraces be-decked with Conran furniture, summer is perfect for alfresco cooking and dining. But what about people without access to outdoor space? Well, there's the George Foreman Grill...

Another alternative is the old 'foil' trick – a simple and clean way to make chicken. You top each breast with marinade, wrap in foil and bake. It’s not quite as sexy as a Viking grill, but it will make moist chicken with little cleanup and no marinating (and it will save you several thousand dollars). We served our chicken with a green salad and spanakopita triangles – a delicious and easy meal.

This recipe calls for shallots, a mild and sweet relative of the onion. Shallots are used extensively in French, South Indian, Persian and Southeast Asian cooking. The Latin name, Allium ascalonicum, is derived from the city of Ashkelon in present-day Israel. It is believed that crusaders travelling to this region spread shallots throughout Europe. In some places, shallots are called scallions, leading to confusion with what are also known as spring or green onions.

Serves 4

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
cooking spray or olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound total weight
salt and pepper, to taste
2 shallots, diced
parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, zest, garlic, soy sauce and paprika.
3. Cut four pieces of aluminium foil, each 1 foot square. Use heavy duty foil or a double layer of regular foil. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
4. Place one chicken breast on each piece of foil, brush with 1/4 of the lemon mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Top with shallots.
5. Wrap each chicken breast into a loose but well-sealed package. Place all four packets in a metal or glass baking dish.
6. Bake for 40 minutes and check the thickest chicken breast. Continue baking for an additional 20 minutes if the chicken is still pink in the center.
7. Unwrap the foil packets – be careful as steam may have built up. Using tongs transfer chicken to plates or serve on foil (for even less clean up). Garnish with parsley.

1 comment:

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