When summer approaches, the lucky outdoor grill owning bloggers start writing about marinades, rubs, sauces and other related cooking tips… They always remind me that the absence of a grilling space is probably the only thing I miss living in the city centre. All I can do is content myself with these oven-grilled chicken breasts. They might not taste as good as the “real thing”, but they are quicker than baked ones, while the resulting cold cuts are undeniably delicious and may be used in dozens of ways (see below). I decided to post something so incredibly easy when I learnt that none of my friends practiced this method and when I realised they were all surprisingly enthusiastic to discover it. Then, when I saw Nami from Just One Cookbook use the oven broiler to prepare Yakitori (chicken skewers), I thought it was the moment to share this idea, hoping it might be useful to some of my dear visitors.
Chicken breasts prepared this way have been a staple in my house for several years. The spice rub recipe had been unchanged before I discovered that curry powder (invented by the British) has got nothing to do with Indian cuisine and is even seen as an insult to this extraordinary culinary heritage by certain Indians… Then I threw away this false condiment, simply swapped it for turmeric and chilli powder… my baked chicken breast started to taste much better! (I have updated this post accordingly).
When I have particularly busy weeks I put them under my oven grill even several times a week. Of course the main reason for that is my chicken addiction, but as I have mentioned above, they are also easy, quick, stay fresh in the fridge for a couple of days and most of all, they are extremely versatile, so I often grill them without any precise dish in my head. Here are only some of the ideas of how to use them:
– served whole, as a part of a main course, with some carbs and vegetables
– chilled and sliced, in a sandwich or canapé
– in a full meal vegetable salad with cubes of grilled chicken instead of ham or other protein sources (check this Spring Salad with a Fried Egg and substitute the chicken for ham)
– on top of a bowlful of steamed rice
– in rice/pasta salads
– in pasta to which you add the cut up chicken breast at the end, only to warm it
– in spring rolls (for example with asparagus or carrot and mint)
– as a party snack served with toothpicks and sauce
– in Asian-inspired vegetable stir-fries (the cubed meat can be added at the end to warm up), and so on… the list is very long.
UPDATE: Reading Nami’s (from Just One Cookbook) kind comment I have just remembered that I have been grilling exactly the same way, under the broiler, also Garlic Miso Chicken Breasts, a fabulous and very easy dish I have slightly adapted from Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings, only one of the many inspiring Nami’s ideas you will find in more or less tweaked form on my blog and on my table.
TIPS: The only tricky part here is to learn the exact grilling time since it depends on the oven broiler, on the distance between the breast and the source of heat and of course on the breast’s thickness. I usually count 10 + 5 minutes and obtain juicy meat inside, but golden and crunchy outside. Once you master your grilling time, it will be a piece of cake.
I usually season the breasts with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and dried garlic. Sometimes I add dried thyme, which goes surprisingly well with the rest. Choose whichever version you prefer, but start maybe without thyme…
Preparation: about 20 minutes
1 chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon powdered chilli (choose sweet paprika if you cannot take the heat)
1 tablespoon oil (coconut fat is much much better!)
Heat the oven broiler.
Season the chicken breast with salt, turmeric, garlic and chilli on both sides, pressing with your palms so that the seasoning stays at the surface.
Brush with oil on both sides.
Place on a piece of aluminum foil or on a grill rack (baking paper tends to burn, so be careful if you use it instead of the foil).
Grill under the broiler for about 10 minutes.
Flip the breast and grill for another 5 minutes.