Sunday, July 19, 2009

Food Sense 4- Lebanese garlic marinated chicken on the grill

Beth and I started a dinner club, a group of friends who get together periodically to enjoy dinner together. Each couple brings one of the courses. The inaugural event had a Mediterranean theme; a Mediterranean diet is quite healthy. As hosts, we prepared the main course. I chose a recipe from The New Mediterranean Diet by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. The chicken was moist and flavorful, and the accompanying garlic sauce was quickly used up, to the disappointment of those assembled. This recipe is dead easy, and well worth it:

Ingredients: 4 garlic cloves, peeled; 1 tsp kosher salt; 1/2c fresh-squeezed lemon juice; 3/4c extra virgin olive oil; 1 tsp sweet paprika; freshly ground black pepper to taste; 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts.

1. Mince the garlic. Then, place in a small bowl and add the salt. Using the back of a spoon, mash the mixture until you have a creamy paste.
2. Add in the lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well.
3. Dump the chicken into a zip-lock bag, and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag and toss a few times to ensure all of the meat is covered.
4. Refrigerate for at least four hours (longer is better).
5. Grill over medium heat for at least 10 minutes per side.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 136 g. Per Serving: Calories, 397; Calories from fat, 258; Total Fat, 28.7g; Saturated Fat, 5.1g; Cholesterol, 101mg; Sodium, 389mg; Total Carbohydrates, 0.6g; Protein, 32.9g

Garlic sauce
This sauce is outstanding. Note that the recipe in the book calls for ladneh, which is a Lebanese soft cheese made by salting yogurt and then letting the whey drain off for 24-36 hours. There are recipes online and in the cook book from which I got the recipe, but I can tell you that the sour cream I substituted should work just fine.

Ingredients: 6 garlic cloves, peeled; 1 tsp kosher salt; 1/3 to 1/2c extra virgin olive oil; 3-4 tbsp low-fat sour cream.

1. Coarsely chop the garlic. Then, place in a small bowl and add the salt. Using the back of a spoon, mash the mixture until you have a creamy paste.
2. Slowly beat in the olive oil, like you were making mayonnaise. If you can do so without the sauce breaking, add the entire amount of olive oil.
3. Gently fold in the sour cream, making sure to fully incorporate it into the sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 23 g. Per Serving: Calories, 136; Calories from Fat, 133; Total Fat, 14.8g; Saturated Fat, 2.6g; Cholesterol, 3mg; Sodium, 295mg; Total Carbohydrates, 1.0g; Protein, 0.3g

To complement the main course, I grilled slices of sweet onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and bell pepper, brushed with olive oil. Serve the chicken breasts, and pass the garlic sauce for guests to spoon on top of the meat. Outstanding!

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