Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caribbean Baked Chicken with Pineapple Pilaf

I've been in the mood for quick, gourmet food, and when that particular craving strikes, I pull out my Cook's Illustrated magazine and America's Test Kitchen cookbooks.  Often, the recipes are too complicated for quick meals and I end up tweaking them to suit my needs.  Frequently I combine their versions with similar ideas from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman or my trusty red-and-white-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

As though in answer to my prayers, America's Test Kitchen has started publishing seasonal 30-minute supper magazines... and I've become obsessed.  I haven't purchased every single one, but I have read them while sitting in my local bookstore.  America's Test Kitchen books and magazines are my new go-to guides on all things meal-related! 

Yet now it's December, and summer seems like a distant memory.  What I have left of summer is my 30-Minute Suppers Summer Edition, and just because I'm unwilling to stand in the frigid air over a grill doesn't mean I'm going to plop one of my favorite cooking resources back on the shelf until June.  We're baking instead of grilling, and I use pineapple instead of mango, but this dish lets me pretend I'm on a tropical beach soaking in the sun!

Caribbean Baked Chicken with Pineapple Pilaf
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Summer 2011

1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and Pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 6 oz can pineapple chunks
1 1/2 cups white rice
~2 1/4 cups water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  3. Place chicken in a small, oven-safe dish and pour half of marinade in, turning chicken to coat. Cover with tin foil and bake 30-45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Preheat saucepan over medium heat and add remaining marinade, sautéing about 30 seconds or until garlic starts to brown.  Add rice and sauté about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Drain pineapple juice into a large measuring cup and add enough water to equal 2 1/4 cups liquid; add to rice.  Add pineapple chunks to rice, stir, cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to low and simmer ~25 minutes, or until all the water is gone and the rice is soft.
  6. Serve the chicken sliced with a bit of the marinade drizzled on top.

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