Thursday, June 23, 2011

Iron Chef Strawberry: Chicken Thighs with Devil's Sauce

For these Iron Chef competitions, I usually like to pick one of the harder courses for the secret ingredient. Well, for a long time while I was searching for a recipe, I thought I outdid myself on this one. Savory strawberry dishes are pretty hard to find. So I asked my brother (who I’ve mentioned before is a great chef) what he thought. He told me about a sauce called Devil’s Sauce, which he makes with raspberries and serves over steak. He thought I could make a similar sauce with strawberries.

Well… as sometimes (ok, often) happens, I started to mess with the recipe. First, I decided to use chicken instead of steak, since we have a non-beef eater in the Iron Chef group. Then, I realized I didn’t have malt vinegar, and didn’t feel like running to the store. So I used balsamic, which actually pairs really nicely with strawberries. Finally, as I was measuring out the ingredients, the ratios just didn’t seem right to me. So I improvised. I’m sure that my brother’s Devil’s Sauce is amazing, and my version is like a redheaded stepsister to that sauce. But all in all, it turned out pretty good. So good that I used my leftover sauce a few nights later and made it for my husband. It didn’t taste a thing like strawberries, but outside of the Iron Chef competition that really doesn’t matter.

Strawberry Puree
Strawberries (about 20, give or take)
1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp water

Devil’s Sauce
1 ½ cups strawberry puree
½ 15oz can Hunt’s tomato sauce
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp Worcestershire
Sriracha (to taste)

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs

First cut the green tops off your strawberries and quarter them. Throw your strawberries in a saucepan with the water on medium heat. After the water gets hot and is tinged pink with strawberry juice, sprinkle the sugar over the top and lower the heat. This isn’t to make the mixture sweet, just to cut the tartness. Stir often until there is a significant amount of juice and the strawberries are soft. Remove from heat and pour into a blender, or immersion blend. Make sure your top is on the blender; you don’t want hot strawberry juice flying around your kitchen. Blend to a pulp and then strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth (sieve is better) into a bowl. Don’t skip this step—you don’t want seeds in your sauce.

Clean out your saucepan and use it again for the next step. Or heck, if you want to wreck your kitchen use a whole new pan. Mix all the ingredients over low heat for about 15 minutes. I used about two teaspoons of sriracha and I personally could have used a little more, but since I was serving a crowd I made it a little less spicy. Taste it along the way and adjust until it’s where you want it.

I’ve touted the virtues of chicken thighs before, they are so juicy and cheap. But in truth you can use this on anything you’d use BBQ sauce on. Throw the thighs on the grill and brush them with sauce. The more layers of sauce the better. Turn them and keep saucing for about 10-15 minutes, keeping the grill around 350 degrees and shutting the lid in between. If you do go with bone-in thighs it will take longer.

We ate these with grilled corn on the cob, which is such a great way to eat corn. And I’m an Indiana girl so you better believe I know my corn. Just soak the whole cob, husk and all for about 15 minutes before grilling. Cut off the extra silk (it’ll burn) and place them directly on the grill. Turn them often, and when they are all nice and charred (10-12 minutes) they are done. Smear with butter and salt and enjoy! Sometimes I like to sprinkle a little cayenne on them as well. It’s a great summer meal to eat outside with a glass of lemonade or beer.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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