Skewered Chicken with Asian Pineapple Sauce

Yesterday was a glorious day for a cook-out, and I decided to try a new “old” recipe that had been languishing in my collection since 2005 when I cut it out of the Chicago Tribune. Abby Mandel was a long-time food columnist who wrote a weekly column which I looked forward to every Sunday in the Trib.  It was the rare Sunday that I didn’t cut out her recipe.   Abby’s bona fides included being a chef, cookbook author, one-time editor at Bon Appétit and the founder of Chicago’s Green City Market.  The Market’s mission supports small local family farms that grow sustainably-raised produce.  Sadly, Abby Mandel lost a battle to cancer three years ago; and, though I never had the pleasure of meeting her, I am among her many fans who miss her.

The column in which this chicken recipe appeared also included one for a “green basmati rice” which I have made many times since it was published.  I have a favorite chicken sate that I usually make to go with it.  It’s difficult to switch gears when you have a meal that everyone loves, but I decided to trust Abby once more.

Well, after making it, all I can ask is—what took me so long to try it?!  It goes together fairly easily and quickly, and the results are outstanding.  Paired with the green basmati rice, it is a dynamic duo for a barbeque, to be sure.  In addition, I was in an adventurous mood and made a fresh tomatillo salsa as well.  I promise to get the green basmati rice and tomatillo salsa posted as soon as I can—stay tuned!

Skewered Chicken with Asian Pineapple Sauce

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Preparation time:  30 minutes
Marinating time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  5 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade and Sauce

  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded if desired, minced
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3 tbl. each:  soy sauce, molasses, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar
  • 2 tbl. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbl. peanut or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Skewers

  • 6 large boneless chicken breast halves, trimmed, cut into about 1¼” chunks
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1¼” chunks
  • 2 each:  green peppers, red peppers, stemmed, cored, seeded

Directions

For sauce, mix garlic, jalapeno pepper, pineapple juice, soy sauce, molasses, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, sugar, peanut oil, sesame oil and salt in medium bowl; cover.

Place chicken in plastic food bag.  Add 1/2 cup sauce, toss to coat chicken chunks; seal bag.  Set aside at room temperature 15 minutes.  Refrigerate remaining sauce.

Heat grill to high; thread chicken and pineapple on skewers, alternating green and red peppers and leaving a little space around chicken so it cooks through.

Ready for the grill

Place skewers over hot coals.  Cook, turning as necessary and brushing with reserved sauce until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Ready for the plate!

Fran’s notes: I bought a can of Trader Joe’s unsweetened pineapple chunks which cut down on the prep time, and I thought they were wonderful.

Source: Abby Mandel recipe

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